Friday, August 31, 2012

SUYL: what my FRIEND makes

Today I am linking up with SHOW US YOUR LIFE: SHOW WHAT YOU MAKE OR SELL and Kelly's Korner Blog.

Haha, I don't make anything..well sometimes I do, but I don't make anything worth selling. However, my friend Kristen makes gorgeous prints, scarfs, stationary. Her company is Thimblepress and here is some of the gorgeous stuff she makes.  You should all check it out....gorgeous stuff!  I have listed some of her products, but check the website out for more prints, notecards, coasters, bags.  She is quote talented and goes to tons of craft shows. Not to mention, she is affordable. Many prints are in the 20-30 dollar range!

The above pictures are her Jackson Collection. I have the entire collection and LOVE IT

Brent's Drugs (from Jackson Collection) - you may recognize this Jackson Staple from the movie, The Help.

Square Books in Oxford, MS

My favorite Jackson restaurant, Walkers -- it used to be a drive thru when my parents were my age, but now its an upscale restaurant!

Some of her fun notepads

The Oxford, MS collection (note: she also has a MSU Starkville collection, but I would never put that on my blog haha )

Mayflower Cafe - also recognizable from The Help

"The Grove" - a piece of heaven in Oxford Mississippi where the best tailgating I've ever taken a part of occurs

Her State flower collection - can't wait to buy my Mississippi Magnolia print!

City Grocery - the Oxford Bar where I spent many weekend nights and several friday afternoon on the porch watching the football fans arriving on the "Square" and sipping a glass of wine. I also occasionally splurged for the ritzy restaurant downstairs.

She just started screenprinting scarfs, shirts, etc. I don't think she has listed these on her website yet (although if you like her facebook page, you can see them!!)She has scarfs, shirts, and bags, you should check back with the site to see them.  Rumor has it, the orange and blue scarf is named "Katy" after a certain Auburn obsessed friend of hers :)

She has an entire collection of prints inspired by "It's a small world" at Disney World. This is my favorite of those!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

Waiting out the hurricane at my grandparents house. Work let off early yesterday so we could bunker down. just rain and strong winds here --- obviously not storm surge or major damage because we are so far inland. No electricity which is the worst in mississippi bc when hurricanes hit and you lose electricity, it's usually August and very very hot!!

Possibly no work today which means I will continue my day of napping and reading by flashlight. I certainly don't want to waste work days BUT little rest and time with my grandparents can be a blessing in disguise! Just hoping electricity comes on before the official start of football tonight!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Easy Italian chicken

I made this for dinner monday night. It was great and I plan on eating leftovers tonight ! Dave enjoyed it which was great because its easy to make, could easilly be cut in half, and is healthy (minus the butter!(

4-6 chicken breasts
A couple cans of green beans (or fresh if you would like!)
New potatoes, cut up
1 packet of Italian dressing/seasoning
I stick of butter

Put all ingredients in a 9x13 pan and sprinkle the seasoning on top. Next pour the melted stick of butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 min on 350.

The landmass between New Orleans and Mobile

Earlier this week, the weather channel offended Mississippians by referring to our state as the landmass between NOLA and Mobile... Which has somewhat seriously/somewhat lightheartedly turned into movement here in Mississippi.  I think that the weather channel heard us because they now say MISSISSIPPI every other word.  Its all in good fun -- and a little bit of mockery.

In all seriousness, Mississippi often gets igored during national disasters. We got hit by Katrina 7 years ago and NOLA suffered a flood (due to their own mismanagement of levees AND building their city in a bowl)  Both were tragic, but only one was an actual hurricaine.  However Mississippi begin working to rebuild while many (not all) NOLA residents whined about the federal government to tv crews.  I love my state, I'm proud of it. 

Here is something my friend Russell Latino posted that has picked up statewide attention.... (by the way, when he refers to that piece of heaven near batesville, he is speaking about Oxford, home of Ole Miss)

"The "land mass between New Orleans and Mobile" has a rich and complicated history. It gave birth to the Blues & Rock-n-Roll. Maybe you've heard of Elvis, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson. The "land mass between New Orleans and Mobile" inspired and cultivated the likes of Faulkner, Welty, Ambrose, Percy, Foote & Grisham. Of course, you needn't pick up a book, because this la...
nd mass is full of great storytellers who need only a porch & a glass of sweet tea. The fields and gyms of the "land mass between New Orleans and Mobile" have produced thousands of world class athletes, though we are partial to the pigskin having trained arguably the greatest quarterback (Favre), running back (Payton) and receiver (Rice) to ever play the game. Our Coast is marked by sugar sand beaches and comes with a bounty of fresh seafood. Our fertile Delta has fed and clothed people the world over. And, if you ask me, there is a little spot east of Batesville that is God's country. Let me be clear, though, we are not perfect. There is dark blight in our past. There is still division to be conquered, but there is also unity on many grounds. You see, the people from the "land mass between New Orleans and Mobile" are a proud bunch. We're intensely loyal, hard working and resilient. We are people of faith who'd give the shirts off our backs to help a friend in need, which may explain, despite low wages, why we give a greater percentage of our income to charity than any other state. We still know the value of a firm handshake and looking a person in the eyes. Oh, and weather channel, the "land mass between New Orleans and Mobile" is called Mississippi. Maybe you forgot since after Katrina made landfall on our shores, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work instead of heading for a camera to complain about what the federal government wasn't doing for us."

                                                   instead of our "Mississippi" magazine...

This is from the Clarion Ledger's political Cartoon Artist, Marshall Ramsey......

A little about the landmass betwee NOLA and Mobile....

Yep, thats where it is!

Gotta love ecards...

Monday, August 27, 2012


Are my pictures getting cut in half on blogger? On my computer, only half of the picture shows up....
If the answer is yes, how do I fox this?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bachelorette Fiesta!!

My sweet friend Sarah is getting married in a few weeks...this weekend we had a mexican themed bachelorette fiesta for her....starting with dinner at SOMBRA and ending with margs, gifts, games, and mexican snacks at my house.

Some tips on throwing a good bachelorette party:
1. Pick a theme and carry it through
2. Keep it classy (no need to be filthy like some parties are)....
3. but also add a couple "sexy" elements....but just a couple will go a long way.
4. Drinks -  its a bachelorette party, after all! but one cocktails if fine, not several options...
5.  Do a portion of the event out and a portion at your house.  (AKA, don't make the poor girl open up gifts in a restaurant!)

Here are some pics from our evening!

Sarah examining the decorations.

The Bride to Be and me

Sarah wearing her sombrero veil at the restaurant.

The drinks table.

We named all the foods...edible underwear....

and Passion Fruit

Flowers in the living room.


Favors....based on the popular country song.

Sarah swinging at the pinata

Decorations and gifts

Bra and Panties cookies from JANIES bakery

The hostesses with the bride to be

The food Table

The pinata

The wreath on my door -- with Sarah's new initial!

Katie wearing the pinata as a costume

Friday, August 24, 2012

Missions Series #3: ALMOST THERE

Please read this post from the Bonhams and Kines.

They are almost there.  COMBINED, the two families have $600 left. A couple weeks ago, it was around $1500 left for the entire team.  As the post points out, thats 12 monthly pledges of $50 or 24 monthly pledges of $25.  I posted about the Bonhams a few days ago and continue to encourage you to pray about giving.

The great news is that since they are so close to 100%, they have been approved to leave for Columbia in a month. I urge you to be praying for them this month as they prepare.  And continue to pray about giving (to them or other missionaries) -- $25, $50 requires only a few sacrafices a month so even those on tight budgets can afford something small to support God's work in other countries or our own country.

1000 gifts: 166- 175

166. Bright colored partyware - red serving platters, multicolored marg glasses, fun table clothes!

167. Zaxbys salads

168. being able to run weeknight errands with Dave now that he lives in town

169. apologies

170. BBC's 4 part emma series

171. my new phone!

172. colored cardigans

173. confetti!!

174. mexican food

175.  ESPN

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Missions Series #2: Find money to give

Please read my original post on my missionary friends, Nate and Nikki Bonham (and their adorable twin boys!)

Most of my friends are young and not exactly wealthy (yet).  I think its easy to think that you can't afford to give to missions at our age....and truthfully, maybe you can't give a lot yet, but you can give some.  This is important for a fewreasons:
     1. It trains you to start giving on a monthly basis. 
     2. We are called to be involved in missions on some level...locally, internationally, financially, through prayers.
     3. Even a little bit can help ($25 a month is $300 a year, $30 a month is 360, $50 a month is $600) A few hundred dollars can buy a lot -- groceries, pay bills, pay for the ministry overhead, daycare for the
children while the parents are in language school)

Anytime you give to missions or a charity, it means you are likely giving up something you wanted to spend money on (if you live on a fixed income like most of us!)  I think most people think I am too overwhelmed with bills, groceries, rent, paying back student loans that I can't give.  And, truthfully, maybe you can't give 100, 200 dollars a month --but almost everyone has a little "extra" money that they spend on new clothes, dinners out, movies.  We can all give up something extra we like to support missions.

How to give $25 a month to missions:
- skip your friday night dinner (15) and movie (10) with friends
- skip date night (20 tickets, 5 popcorn) for a night in
- give up 2-3 lunches out and instead pack your lunch
- say no to the sale top
- 5-6 fancy coffees this month
-say no to a play or concert
- a combination: one less movie, one less lunch out, one less coffee
-one less manicure or pedicure (15-35)

How to give $50 a month to missions:
- give up 2 date nights a month
- say no to that new pair of shoes/dress
- don't eat lunch out all week
- give up your mani & pedi (45-50)
- save the gas from a weekend trip to Oxford/Starkville - or split gas with a friend and save half your money for missions!
- give up 2 girls night outs
- sell your ticket to one game a month and just sit in the grove
-combination: one less girls night, one less pedicure
-combination: 3 days of bagged lunches when you would rather eat out, say no to two coffee drinks, skip one movie

A few decisions a month can enable you to support missions.  Actually, I have been thinking, I want to actively choose not to do something a couple nights (a couple wkd nights a month spent in) and let that be a trigger to pray for the missionary families I support.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I am reading Wednesday

1. I love this article on "The pain of Childbearing" (mothering). Favorite line: "I cannot raise my children to be safe, but I can raise them to be strong."  I think thats true of my siblings and me...we were raised to be strong in a world that isn't safe.  I suppose the best you can do for your kids is to first teach them the gospel daily and second, teach them how to live in this world -- strength, kindness, endurance, etc.

2. I love Mississippi.  One of the poorest states but one of the most generous.  When people hate on my state, I get so angry. You don't even know how great this place is, how people come together for good causes, how you get invited to peoples homes and how you are taken care of.  Mississippi is a special place, but go ahead and hate on it: we will keep it "our litte secret" and keep awful haters out.

3. This article talks about trials and their purpose.

And it is why Peter is able to say, with a straight face, that you should “rejoice” in trial (1 Peter 1:6).This doesn’t mean it’s fun to be in a trial. It only means that the cognizance of what the trial really is in the spiritual realm (an opportunity for faith to prove itself) is the “joy set before you” (see Hebrews 12:2) that will make the trial bearable and will motivate you to keep clinging to God and keep obeying. Jesus had to live life the same way, and He set us an example. So whenever you feel that grumbling in the tummy, or you are caught in another trial, tell yourself, like Linda did: “Good. This means something good is happening.” It is having “the mind of Christ.”

4. We all have walked through a desert before.  A desert can be used for God's purposes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Missions Series #1: Meet the Bonhams!

Hi y'all, my internet at home is finally working which mean I can now do my missions series I've been promising!!! I want to tell you about my friends, Nate and Nikki and kids and their plans to move to Columbia with MTW (Mission to the World) very soon, AND I want to challenge you to start giving a little to missions -- hopefully to Nate and Nikki (shameless plug), but if not, to missions in general because our 20s/30s is when we should start- or even earlier! (Check out their personal blog here. Check out their missions blog here.)

a little about Nate and Nikki Bonham....

Nikki and I have been friends since the 4th grade. We both grew up at the same little church plant in Mississippi. I actually hadn't seen her in a few years because we were both in college and starting our adult lives but when I moved back to Jackson, we picked back up with being friends. Nikki is pretty easygoing and we are able to go a few weeks without visits and still pick right back up. Thats a blessing to have in a friend and I suspect its a skill that will benefit when she moves FAR away from her family and friends.

Nikki is married to Nate. They were one of those adorable couples that met in high school and got married young. Nate recently graduated from seminary and the two have spent the last year fundraising. They have two precious two year old boys- twins. Barrett and Noah. Barrett is a master planner. You can literally see the wheels in his brain turning, he's so smart, way smarter than me. Noah is bigger than Barrett and a lovable teddy bear, clearly the athlete in the family. We joke that they will be pinky and the brain. Noah will carry out Barrett's crazy schemes. The kids have travelled so much during their first two years of life for fundraising and training, etc. They are remarkably flexible and well rounded 2 year olds!! (likewise, a skill that will be great for moving to the mission field!)

Nikki has wanted to be a missionary for as long as I can remember. I've mentioned before that I attend a missions minded church growing up. She went on the church missions trips (the two of us grew up in a very missions minded church which encouraged going or supporting) and always knew this was how she felt called to serve the Lord. The Lord also opened Nate's heart to missions and they've literally been preparing for years - school, training, visiting potential countries. Getting there has been a challenge as they've visited several possible countries and had to fundraise, etc.  It's literally a calling that took years to make happen (side note: clearly God uses times of waiting to prepare  us for His purposes!)

Now, they are preparing to leave for Columbia with another family. They are going as a team (see team blog here). The team will be trained in the language and how to run a ministry for 2 years before being placed in another spanish speaking country to begin a ministry/mission there. This is the first time MTW has taken a two family team and trained them together with the plan of them continuing to work together. So, the Bonhams and Kines (other family) are doing something different! It will be great for the Bonhams to have friends/co-team members on the field with them whom they trust and whom they work well together (the men have been worknig in ministry together for awhile at a local presbyterian church) BUT this has some challenges-- fundraising for 2 families!!

Nate Nikki and the Boys have finished their missionary training in New York and will hopefully be leaving for Columbia within the next month. They have raised over 90% but need to be at 100% to leave. I've never done much fundraising, but I get the idea that its like weight loss -- the last little bit is the toughest. Nate and Nikki need about 400 dollars more a month (think 16 pledges of 25 a month or 8 pledges of 50). They are getting to the end of their contacts, but I think if several people shared their information with their friends, there will be some sweet people who have been looking for a way to support missions and might want to support this sweet family.

Here is the link to donate or ask Nate questions.  (Also, if you do donate, please email them your donation amount bc it takes a few weeks to process. This way they can add it into their totals!)  Here's a link to tell you more about this two family team.


I ask you to prayerfully consider giving to this family's ministry.  I feel strongly about missions, but even more strongly about this family in missions. Partly because I have seen the Lord's plans unfold (and it hasn't always been easy or as planned) and partly because I know that this is where they are called.  But, also partly because I love their philosophy on missions. They think their financial and prayer support are a part of the calling.  Nikki will keep everyone updated via blogs, facebook, emails. (Additionally, I will update everyone on them and their ministry!)  She says she hopes that their supporters feel welcome to bring teams or come to Columbia or even contact her for updates.  Afterall, those who give money should know how the Lord is working in that Country and what the continued needs are.  Please be in prayer for this sweet family as they prepare to move and feel free to pass their information along to anyone else who may pray or donate. I don't think everyone is called to go into missions, but everyone is called to support missions in some way.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I wanna rock 'n roll all night....

This past weekend, Dave and I went to the Coast for a Rock Festival where we heard several bands including his favorite, Evenescence.

We spent the night at a friends house then went to brunch and on the water Sunday.  It was a fun weekend to end his summer. School starts next week so I'm glad he got to do something fun.  I'm certainly not a rocker, but I enjoyed the show.  However, standing all day (after a long run) was time, I will plan ahead and bring a blanket for the earlier shows and save my energy for the later performers!! Also, a happy discovery from the weekend: adult juice boxes (well, I am calling them that) -- prepackeged margs with straws!!

1000 things to be thankful for: #151-160

Catching up on my 1000 blessings! So much to be thankful for, big or small

151. a fun night with my roomie watching Pride and Prejudice and catching up
152. icy hot (running injuries are killing me!)
153. Dave moved last weekend so I have an in town BF
154....and in town BF who has a pool and hot tub. (I mean, I was considering dumping him but now that I have a pool/hot tub to visit, I'll stay! haha)
155. Janie's Bakery in brookhaven -- delicious treats and when ordering lingerie cookies for a shower I am hosting, I discovered that their cookies were less than half the price of the Jackson competiters!
156. Advocare Spark -- think caffenated crystal light/kool-aid.  I am trying to quit drinking diet coke all the time and this helps!
157. Hobby Lobby (seriously, don't you feel motivated to be super crafty every time you walk in that store?)
158. Sisters Weekend in Baton Rouge this weekend...dinner and movie with my two favorite girls and snuggling with my Jack Attack
159. friends who celebrate eachother's birthdays (sometimes this gets ignored when you are single, but tonight we are celebrating my friend.  I am so glad we do this for eachother!)
160. Cable tv...I love being able to watch football
161. weight watchers ice cream bars
162. Suntans. I love sun-kissed skin, makes you look happy!
163.  Sportsmanship. We got to see this several times during the Olympics and it made me happy.
164. Babalus.  I love their guac and tacos, can't wait to eat some tonight!
165.  wedding showers.  Such a treat to rejoice with dear friends.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Facebook Rules.

I am going to post on missions soon, I promise. My internet has been out at home so any post I do is quick and done at work (where blogger won't seem to let me upload pictures)  We now have our internet set up, so look for a couple good posts coming up :)

Today, I am honoring a request from Kayla to create some facebook ettiquite rules since I did a brief post a couple years ago...And keep in mind that I have broken some of these myself! And, I am sure everyones fb rules would be different BUT THESE ARE THE RULES I WOULD SUGGEST.

1.  Passive Aggressive statuses.  Just don't do them. Usually you post a status like this because everyone will know who you are referring to (even without saying a name).  Or, at very least, the person you are referring to will no.  You are old enough to just address this problem in person or over the phone.  No need to publically (although you claim, not so publically) call them out.  This method backfires and reflects worse on you than it does on them!  Also passive aggressive moves like this don't actually make the other person sorry, just annoyed.

2. I love my BF/My husband is amazing posts.  I'll give a little grace here.  The occassional "look at the flowers hubby brought home" or "I love my fiance so much! One week til we are married" posts are fine.  But, you all know what I am talking about...some people want to tell you how in love they are every day. It's annoying and actually makes me question how legit your relationship is if you feel the constant need to announce your feelings publically.  Are you trying to convince me of your commitment and love? or are you trying to convince your significant other and possibly yourself?

3.  Workout statuses/food statues.  I'll admit, I occasionally do this one. (guilty)  If I run a half marathon or something, I'll post about it. But, I certainly don't tell everyone about my daily workouts and diet habits.  My sister and I get so cracked up about this.

4. The "inspirational" status.  I love when people put a good quote that encourages me.  I may even like it or comment, but when you write a status thats all philosophical (yet not really) and is your own words, I just laugh usually.  I suppose this could be done well if you are elequent, but I've only seen it done in a way that you could tell the person thought they were being deep but no one else felt the same.

5. EXCESSIVE Wedding statuses.  I'll give some grace here.  A countdown the month before your wedding, a few exciting updates like "mailed the invites!" etc, are fun.  But, I have friends who update you with every vender they book and have counted down for 18 months.  It's a little ridiculous. MODERATION is key folks.

6. Centimeters Dialated.  There is absolutely NO REASON to post this on facebook.  You can text your friends your birthing progress, but on facebook, all you have to say is "at the hospital, making progress, baby should be here soon."  I know birth is natural, but its like mamma to bes forget that they are talking about their lady parts.  It's just a little too detailed for 1200 friends to see.

7. Wedding picture profile pics.  I love seeing peoples wedding pics on facebook...but there's a timeline. Did you get married 7 years ago, gain 30 pounds and have 2 kids? Thats not what you look like anymore. Post a wedding pic for your anniversary, etc, but all the time is unncessary.

8. What do I do about my kids diarrhea? statues.    Sometimes, young moms ask very personal things about their children in facebook statuses....I'm sure other people ask personal things in statuses too, I just usually only notice the moms because its almost always about poop or booty rashes. Totally a question that young moms probably need to ask. Therefore, text your friends, send an email, but discussion on facebook, not necessary.

9. Ask me whats wrong statuses.  Y'all know what I am talking about....someone posts a status saying "life sucks, I just can't trust anyone."  This is inviting the question: what's wrong? are you ok?  The response is either annoyance that you asked and being informed that its private info for a select few OR its spilling their guts in a followup comment.

10. Angry Rants.  Sometimes people just rant.  They aren't passive aggresive about it or secretive so you will ask whats wrong, they just put it out there.  Not only will you possibly regret this when you calm down, if its about children or divorce (this is often where I see these rants occuring), as a lawyer, I will tell you things written on the internet that can be printed certainly won't help your case (although they won't always hurt it)

11.  Posting every single story about your child.  I LOVE children stories. If its funny, I will likely comment and laugh really hard at my desk. BUT if you tell me everytime your child drinks milk, I will roll my eyes.  Sometimes kids are HILARIOUS. Sometimes they just are doing normal things which MAY be adorable to you, but normal to the rest of us.

12.  Telling me how many days/weeks/seconds you've been married.  This is cute when you say "1 month of marriage" or "6 months of marriage' or "2 years of marriage" but when you tell me you've been married for 17 weeks or 27 months or 14 months 2 weeks 3 days, you're being a little over the top.

13. Negative Nancy statuses.  Everyone has a "whew, this has been a hard week, glad its over" post...but when everything in your life sucks and you tell me constantly, I start to believe that the only thing that sucks is your attitude.

14. POINTLESS statuses.  You went to Kroger? really. congrats.

15. Overly detailed statues.  You went to Kroger, played Tennis, watched a movie, cleaned your room and ironed your clothes?? congrats again.  (I know I've been guilty of this oops)

16. SPOILERS.  Don't tell me who won the female gymnastics all around meet at the Olympics. Please.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Love at First (Second, Third, etc...) Sight

This blog post, Love and Fifth Sight  made me think about falling in love.  Can you really fall in love at first sight? And more importantly, do you have to "click" immediately? Is chemistry expected from day one?

How long does it take to click with another person?  Does it happen immediately or does it sometimes take a few dates before you have that chemistry?

I'm a big believer in the fact that chemistry and a strong connection doesn't have to happen on date one for it to be a great relationship. Thats why I have always been willing to invest a few dates.  Some people are awkward on first dates. There's nervousness. Someone could be tired or have had a bad day or sensitive because of stress or other problems. Someone may be a little closed (without knowing it) because of their last relationship ending poorly or commitment fears, etc.... You may have tons and common but not feel that click immediately.  So, I willingly invest a few dates, no harm in trying.  And, I often encourage my friends to do the same.

I'm also a big believer that chemistry isn't everything, that people spend so much time chasing this idea of "butterflies" that they overlook people that have common interests, compatability, commitment, mutual respect, etc.  Love isn't always butterflies.

However, despite being a big supporter of that idea -- the whole clicking on date 3, 4, or 5 has never happened to me.  Of the few guys I have "clicked" with, that chemistry happened immediately.  In fact, I have practiced my theory before with guys before, giving "us" a shot for a few more dates, hoping we clicked- and in the end, there ended up being no chemistry, even a few dates in, although a heck of a lot of respect and friendliness. However, I know people who didn't hit it off with their hubbies or bf's at first but said yes to a second date because they knew the guy's character and ended up falling in love.  So, this theory must work for some people, just never me.

What do y'all think? How essential is chemistry - longterm and in the very beginning? Any success stories of falling in love with guys you didn't click with on date #1? I'd love to hear them!

PS- sorry for the boring "analytical" post (although I really am curious about your answers), but I have a special treat for y'all!!! I have a couple blog posts I am working on about missions and a favorite family of mine who are going on the missions field.  GET EXCITED!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Long Distance Dating Part 2: Tips

TODAY my fave guy moves to Jackson (I'm grinning from ear to ear). To celebrate the end of distance dating, I am doing a couple posts on Long Distance Dating starting with this post.

Long Distance Dating has its challenges, so here are my tips:

(1) Flirty Texts, Concerned Texts, Loving Texts - A LITTLE EXTRA AFFIRMATION

Why do I say texts? Because most of us work and can't be on the phone all day and because texts can be read multiple times and make you smile over and over!! Its so easy for daily chatter to become about what you did at work and what your plans are tonight.  This is a vital part of any relationship (no doubt!) - but when you are dating long distance, you don't get to show ANY affection - no, 'You look nice today' or quick hugs hello or a squeeze of the hand.  That's why fun texts that encourage, express affection, or flirt are necessary....words are an essential way of showing affection long distance. I made it my goal to never let a day go by where I did not say something sweet (I hope I can keep this goal up now that we live 15 min apart!)

(2) Phone calls (the obvious tip)

I've never felt a need to have long calls with boys I've dated when we live in the same town.  Its not necessary to finish dinner with him and then go home and talk to him for an hour.  But calls are important when dating long distance...even short ones just to say hey, hows your day?  And, I used to wait for Dave to call me, but now I try to make an effort to call him too, even if  I only have 15 minutes.

(3) Alternate visits.

It's easy (as the girl) to put all the pressure on the man to come see you. But this gets expensive and exhausting for one person to do.  We certainly weren't tit for tat....he might visit a few times in a row then I would visit a couple times, etc. But, I didn't leave the responsibility of travelling only on him.  Share the burden.


It's a little harder to just "hang out" when you are dating long distance. You can't call your BF and say "Let's go get ice cream or ride bikes or see a movie today."  Dave is not a planner, I am. This probably (re: definitely) drove him crazy that we had to plan our wkds ahead of time, but I think we both quickly learned we had to be willing to plan for which weekends we were travelling (this doesn't mean you have to plan the weekend out, BUT it doesn mean you have to plan that there will be a weekend together!)

(5) BUT...allow for some surprises

I had court near Dave's hometown one day and randomly called and said, "I just found out I will be near you, want to meet up?" He worked his schedule out to see me.  He got off work early one day and called and asked if he could come see me, and I willingly said yes and made last minute plans of what to cook.  Having a few surprises is fun and made me realize that if I ever really needed him, he would be there..and vice versa.

(6)  Time off.

This sounds silly since long distance relationships mean you have lots of time off.  But I mean, don't book every weekend.  I think we saw eachother 3 out of 4 wkds on average.  It gets exhausting travelling or hosting. Sometimes you need girl time or a weekend where you do nothing.  Be willing to give yourselves a break from the driving!

(7) Have your own life.

This isn't hard for me- or for Dave.  But I think some couples maybe are a little more dependent than we are. Long distance dating might not work in those circumstances.  You have to be fine doing your own thing, because you will have to do that a lot.  In fact, enjoy doing your own thing. One of the blessings of distance dating is that you can still have plenty of alone time or friend time!!

(8) Set Traditions

Have silly traditions that seem consistant even when your schedules and time together aren't consistant. IE, almost every day, I get a good morning text or send one.  We always say good night or text it.  I know, silly stuff, but knowing there was something constant made things better.

(9) Celebrate

Have countdowns, plan special things when you are together -- spend more time looking forward to when you are together than pouting because you aren't.

(10) Prioritize.

This is obviously a basic tip for any relationship, but its particularly important when dating someone from somewhere else....We couldn't attend every date function, every family event, so its really important that we prioritized AND made it clear which events were important.  I know there were times when I said, "Nah, don't worry about coming to X" and times when I said, "Actually, I really would like you to come to X"

(11) Have an end plan.

After a few months in, you have to know long distance has an end date. Will one or both of you move? When? We were lucky to know from the day we met that Dave was moving in August.  You can't date long distance indefinitely.  What made long distance dating easier was realizing it wasn't long distance forever -- one day it would end.

(11) Fight quickly

Like any other couple, you will fight during your time together - over big things, over little things. What was most challenging for me is that you have to move on quickly (and in a way, this was probably good for us because we couldn't dwell long) Normally, you might fight with someone and have a few hours or days to calm down.  We would disagree, discuss it, try to solve it, and literally have to go right back into "being ok" and enjoying our time together.  You have to be able to just move on. You only have 2-3 days together so you can only waste an hour or two being mad.  This was challenging to learn, but I think I got better as we went on.

(12) Begin on a good note and end on a good note.

Begin with a hug, a couple minutes together and a kind word.  Try to end the same way.  Ideally, even if you are going out with friends, try to begin/end alone.  This is not always an option, but even if we are meeting up with others, I generally tried to have a few minutes with Dave at my house when he first arrived.  When I would visit him, he would walk outside of his house to my car (to say hello and grab my bag) so we had a couple minutes to say hello before we begin hanging out with everyone inside. We always walk eachother to the car when a weekend is over.  It felt like the last few minutes were ours.

(13) Bear with eachother.

Patience is a virtue needed in any relationship, but especially long distance dating.  Sometimes, you may have to stay on the phone later than you intended because the other person is having a bad day. Sometimes you may not hear from the other person because they are out with friends. It's frustrating because you can't just say, "Thats okay, I will see you tomorrow." Patience and forgiveness are probably the best gifts you can give eachother.

*NOTE: I have never done CROSS COUNTRY DATING or OVERSEAS DATING, etc.... so I am sure that what I am saying based on 2 hours apart (or, in another relationship, 4.5 hrs apart) is not helpful to all, but its just a few tips from my own experiances.  Some of the basics probably apply to any distance.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Her Dear Bridegroom's Face, Take 2

Ironically enough, right after I published this post yesterday on Weddings, God's Provision, and the Gospel, I clicked on another blog to read this post. I encourage you to check this article out as well. Here's a bit of what the author had to say:

"As I walked toward my future husband, everything faded besides what was ahead of us. The past didn't matter, old qualms disappeared. The only thing that existed between our locked eyes was love, forgiveness, peace and this exuberant excitement for the future like I have never experienced. Although this moment was beautiful, it passed. We have been married a month, and some days there is more between our locked eyes — frustration, anger and that look of "you seriously thought those dishes go there?" We are human, incapable of perfection. We will strive every single day, but those moments will always come and go.

Yet Christ, who is perfect, will always welcome us into His arms, resentment-, anger- and frustration-free. That walk toward Steve on our wedding day will now always carry a reminder of 1) God's sweet grace that allowed that moment and 2) God's love that begs me to walk toward Him in that way each and every day, abandoning the past and running toward a future with Him.

Think you have slipped too far out of Christ's reach? Think again. The Redeemer of the universe is begging you to enter into a marriage with Him. He welcomes you with fervor, that of a groom welcoming his bride. Although we are completely undeserving, He desires us, pursues us and has great plans for our life with Him. Just ask Him.

Not married but want to be? Envision that moment. Squint your eyes, try to see him/her, and spend some time in prayer for that person you cannot yet see. Pray for him/her. Pray he/she is making wise choices and pray that God can keep your hearts, minds and bodies pure until you meet.

Not married and feel like you have made mistakes too great to enter into a blessed union? You have never traveled too far out of the reach of God's grace. You can never back away into a corner dark enough where God's light cannot shine. He is there; He is waiting and desiring your return. Pray for redemption, purity and peace. God restores. Also pray for your future spouse that he/she may know God's grace. No relationship begins in perfection, but God can redeem, purify and make beautiful out of what we have ruined."

I'm such a goober, but as I said yesterday. I love when weddings point us to Christ.  Ceremonies and Sacraments and all things formal and official are supposed to serve as a reminder of the great story of the gospel.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Recent Photos....

A few pictures from the past few weeks......

2 weekends ago, I went to the Neshoba County Fair. It is one of the last political fairs in America where Ronald Reagan started his campaign years ago.  But its more than just political speeches, its concerts (mostly country artists or course!), traditional fair activities like rides, games and livestock shows, art sales, horse races, a triathlon, etc. 

Even more unique is that the fairgrounds have cabins all around the fairgrounds where people literally move for a week or two. Cabins have bottom floors of kitchens, porches, family areas, and second and sometimes third floors full of beds where 10, 15, 20, more people spend sleep.

There's lots of music, lots of cabin hopping, lots of food and drinks, lots of good times., late nights and late mornings, fun kid activities, etc. Its so much fun.  Here is a pic of roomie and me before the U.S. concert (U.S. is a fun cover band that is popular in the South) Saturday night.

Last weekend, Dave surprised me with sweet. Did I mention he moves in 2 days? I'm so excited. Someone asked me if he was coming to town this weekend or if I was traveling to see him...and I responded neither, he will live in Jackson as of Friday :)

Also, Jack Attack started his new daycare. He already has a girlfriend...she's older (18 months) and an Auburn fan.  Hmmm, I guess he likes two older AU fans :) The boy has good taste, what can I say? Anyways I miss the booger but am planning a Baton Rouge trip next weekend to snuggle with him (or more like chase him around since he is such a busy body now!) Here he is for the first day of "school".

Her dear Bridegroom's face

I don't know this girl....but I know her story. I know her aunt (who posts her niece's blog updates on facebook so I started to follow Ashley's blog).  This girl is about my age - facing the same struggles we all do - singleness, dating, work, figuring out adulthood, only she did it with MS, in a wheelchair for a large portion of her 20s.  I follow her blog because she is real and honest about her struggles and doesn't sugarcoat them...but at the same time, her eyes seem to be on Christ.  Like everyone else, I have struggles sometimes but seeing someone who is going through more choose to focus on Christ is always an encouragement for me to put my eyes on Christ as well.

Read the article I mentioned above. The author details how the Bride rolling down the aisle in her wheelchair to her eager waiting groom illustrated the gospel message. You will be encouraged and you will be even more excited about a God who can redeem bad circumstances....

"What a captivating picture of Christ’s love. I look at these 2 beautiful young people and all they have been through to get to this day: the diagnoses, the doctors visits, the medications, the tears, the aching parents, family, and friends who want healing, the frustration, the questions, the asking and begging of God as to why…and then this…this beautiful, Christ-centered moment where it all makes a little more sense and becomes a little clearer. God was preparing them for this day, for this moment, for each other so that they can bask in the love and commitment they have for one another for the rest of their lives. Nothing could be more symbolic of us, the Church, the Bride of Christ."

and a God who Loves us eternally as His Bride....despite our brokeness:

"This young couple was such a picture of that to me.  I am the bride in the wheelchair who is beaming and can’t wait to finally be by the side of my groom, Jesus, forever.  And Jesus is that groom, like Justin, who looks and waits expectantly for me to join Him.  When it is all culminated there will be no judgment on my brokenness and sin…Jesus won’t even expect me to get out of my wheelchair…He will just pull up a chair and sit down beside me and welcome me home (just like Justin did to his sweet Ashley at this ceremony)."

I love how the article describes a Savior who loves us and provides both here and eternally (of often we only look at one element of His provision: a God who gives good things or a God who provides us with an eternity with Him, but He does both!)
This article reminds me of one of my favorite verses in a hymn (from "The Sands of Time are Sinking):

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Emmanuels land.

My absolute favorite part of weddings is the picture of the gospel that is painted for all in attendance.  I love how the above referenced article illustrated that.  I know how it feels to be sitting through yet another wedding, feeling like I can't relate to marriage and love and blessings. I've done it far too many times.  But, every single person sitting at a wedding can benefit from the gospel message illustrated: We have a Bridegroom who adores us in our brokeness and we will be reunited with Him one day!!

So, for those of you who are waiting for the right man/woman, be encouraged, the Lord works in tough circumstances...even when things seem unlikely or to be working against you, He can provide just as He did for this girl.  More importantly, for those who feel too broken with sin to walk down the wedding aisle to your Bridegroom, Know that He loves you even in that brokeness and cannot wait to have you by His side forever.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To regret or not to regret?

Molly Ringwald said: "I don't really believe in regret. I think you can always learn from the past, but I wouldn't want a different life."

I've been having a little debate with my BF. and I've also discussed this with my best friend.

How does regret work?

Do we look back at past bad decisions and regret them? Do we wish we had done differently? Do we regret sin or poor decision making skills?

Or do we not regret? whatever hard time, bad decision or misstep actually led us all to the places we are today. 

I tend to think there's a middle ground.

Had I not moved to MS instead DC, I wouldn't be dating Dave or friends with the girls I am close to.  Had I gone to Ole Miss straight out of high school, my life would be different. Sometimes I may have wished I made a diferent choice...what would my life be like if X? but how can I regret the steps that led me here, even if they were difficult.  Even broken relationships, I regret that I spent so much time into making them work, but can I regret that they happened? Didn't I learn and grow?

But, I disagreed some with my friends during this debate.... I must regret sometimes. I must regret sin.  When it wasn't just a decision, but a sinful choice, I must regret that past decision, even if God redeemed it and used it to bring me to Him. I must regret sin so I can "go and sin no more".  I regret the feelings I've hurt, the gossip I've spread, the angry thoughts I've had.

Regret is one thing, dwelling is an entirely different thing. Where's the line? Where does regret end and dwelling begin? And what should we regret and what should we take as a decision that made us who we are today? 

Any thoughts?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Long Distance Dating Part 1: PLUSES

This is my last week of long distance dating (well I hope my last week, but atleast my last week for the forseeable future!) Dave is moving to Jackson this weekend for his 5th year of architecture we will live in the same town in 4-6 days  BUT who's counting, right?

This is the second time in my life I have dated long distance and despite the fact that NO ONE would choose to date long distance, I have actually really cherished this time.  We both agree it has been very formative in our relationship....and not just formative in the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" way.  I've heard a lot of people say they would never date long distance, and to be honest, I think thats silly. You never KNOW where the right man for you will be living.  Why say no to a date? 

But, for the "NEVER" crowd, you are right, a few NEVERS apply: NEVER date long distance for too long if there is not talk of a timeline where one or the both of you will move.  NEVER date long distance too long if neither of you has any intention of compromising and moving (IE, if a cali boy could never move to MS, and a MS girl could never move to cali, and they have no place they are both willing to move in between, then don't keep dating -- if you can't compromise, then you may not like the person enough to continue the relationship), NEVER casually date someone long distance.

That being said, here are the plus sides of long distance dating:

1. You decide how serious you are really quickly.  I've dated casually a LOT and sometimes it takes awhile to figure out my feelings. But when I had to make such a big effort to see Dave, it forced me to examine how I felt very quickly.

2. You have more certainty about how the other person feels.  I knew he liked me.  He willingly drove to see me and made an effort to call. When guys call you Thursday night to grab a drink Friday, you aren't always sure how he feels -- is he excited to see you or was his night just free and he needed plans?  LIKEWISE, Dave knew I liked him.  Girls sometimes don't have to make much of an effort early on because the man is pursuing...but when a girl has to make an effort to drive 2 hours, then I think its clear she must have feelings.

3. Improved communication skills from hours on the phone (obvi)

4. Equal effort.  NOT completely equal, as in, we don't measure things out -- but instead of those first few months requiring Dave to figure out every single date out, often times I figured out plans for us.  If he was driving into town, we'd meet up with friends.

5. Flirty sweet text messages. 

6.  Every visit/date/etc feels special.

7.  2 honeymoon phases.  Not there yet, but about to be.  Dave and I have rarely done daily tasks together like watch weeknight tv, run errands, get coffee, go for a night time bike ride or walk, etc.  We don't know the freedom of being able to just see eachother without PLANNING it out.  We are now excited for some of the small things most people are excited about early on.  We like it-- kindof like a new exciting phase for us.

8. There is the whole "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger" motto which is true.

9. While starting to date Dave, I didn't jump in and abandon friends.  I still had time for them and he still had time for his life too.  It was great to have that sense of balance that distance supplies.

10. ability to spoil eachother.  Rarely does Dave leave Jackson without cookies in hand.  Silly as it may seem, I always view it as me taking care of him throughout the week. I certainly hope to keep that up now that its not as "necessary". Hopefully, distance trained me well.

11.  Lots of hello and goodbye kisses.

12. weekly countdowns

13.  space -- every couple needs it, those who date longdistance have it built in! we don't have a choice!

14. Plenty of moments when I don't have to dress up.  Dave doesnt know when he is talking on the phone if I have makeup on or my hair done!

15. BUT this creates a desire to try and look my best when I do see him.  I do have those moments on the couch in sweats, but fewer of those than other girls have with their guys.  Its fun to still want to dress up for him. 

16.  Not seeing him daily encourages me to pray for him daily.  I dont think I would do that as much if I saw him daily.

So, there you have it, some of the PLUSES from dating long distance.  Its not all goodbyes and waiting by the phone.  There are some pluses for doing this for a short period of time.  Just some advice for anyone considering dating someone in a different city, state, etc.

Check it out!

Check out my friend Tiffany's giveaway at Figuring out the Plot.

Tiffany's blog is so fun. She is another single CFB-loving, travels all over, has great gal pals, running attorney who lives in New Mexico.  Different places but we have tons in common, so you should definitely follow her blog! I always find it encouraging, and the best part is all her posts have a quote! You know how I love quotes!

Friday, August 3, 2012

His Answers

read this article. about turning to God in times of famine...about seeking Him for solutions. so encouraging.  and reminds me how I feel in life many times.

Sometimes everything is going wrong. and I try to fix it-- and then when I can't fix it, I give up. And then so many times everything is going right and I'm scared to enjoy it because everything will fall apart.

Sometimes things are going great and then rough times hit...even small annoyances.  This author talks about the difficulties of moving after marriage, being told she had fertility issues, struggling to make friends and get her business going again in a new area.  But every small dissapointment adds up.

She learned really quickly that you have to hand it over to the Lord.  So she did....  and when she gave the issues to Him to fix, she started making friends, her business picked up, and she discovered she was pregnant.

Now, this isn't how life works out all the time. Handing things over doesn't mean our problems are always fixed or that they are fixed in our timing or in our way. BUT, it does mean we are trusting the Lord with the issues so He will sustain us and bring redemption, growth and blessing.  I'd be curious to know what issues the author still has - because I am sure she would tell us that surrendering issues to the Lord is still a daily struggle.

However, I think its no coincidence that when she started accepting her circumstances and trusting the Lord to work the problems out (instead of just her fighting for improvement), thats when she saw improvements.  The Lord had plans all along, but he just wanted to bring her to the end of herself so she knew HE brought the solutions, not she, her husband, her boss, her doctor...but the LORD alone had answers.

My favorite portion of the article is when she describes going to the doctor expecting to find out something was wrong with her (after she had surrendered her struggles to the Lord) and instead she was informed she was pregnant. She states that the fertility drugs (her solution) still lie in the drawer unopened (and certainly the Lord could've used fertility drugs to bring her a child, but the point is that was her solution and He had his own solution!)

What a tangible example of the Lord answering with better answers than our own.  In my own life, there are many things I'm trying to make happen -- improvements in my job and relationships and personal appearance and goals etc etc.  I will keep trying hard at all these things, but I want to do a better job at surrendering all of these issues to the Lord.  He can cause change and improvement in a better way than I can.  Maybe in a few months, I will look back and see my own versions of "unopened fertility drugs" because the Lord provided in ways I hadn't imagined.  And, maybe, the answers won't come as quickly as they did for the author, but at the end of the day, His provision and answers will still proove to be best.

So, what issues are you trying to fix on your own? Family issues? Relationships? Job troubles? Kid issues? Financial stress?  While reading self help books, making budgets, having big talks and arguments with loved ones, applying for new jobs, putting in extra hours, etc, have you surrendered the issues to the Lord?  I encourage you to do so, the Lord has better solutions than the ones you have, and surrendering your struggles to Him is freeing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What to do if you didn't kiss dating goodbye.....

I started a post on the Chick Fil A mess yesterday but my blogger is messed up. I had a humorous picture to attatch but it would not allow me to attach photos or links.  So hopefully it will be out of this funky mood soon and I can attach.

But, I did have something else I wanted to share....which applies to all of life, but in this post, I am applying it to dating (surprise surprise....)  Yesterday my friend and I were talking about dating and how Joshua Harris got it wrong. (He's the author of "I kissed dating goodbye", and sidenote: I never kissed dating goodbye and oftentimes think that those who did really just weren't getting asked out and needed an excuse for it)  I'm not saying that his ideal isn't wonderful and in some cases, idealistic and perfect-- date/court only one person, fall in love with said person and get married.  But, what I am saying is that rarely happens -- due to our sin or others' sin or living in a sinful world.  So, what do when that isn't our ideal? What about those of us who don't marry their high school sweethearts or save our first kisses for our husband or avoid broken hearts throughout the crazy 20s?? Are we doomed to less than fulfilling marriages?  Are we somehow "less than" in God's eyes? Can he still use us in marriages, families and life in general?

According to many Christian singles resources, NO.  or atleast, "on a diminished level".   But, according to the gospel, YES. Yes, God uses sinners, yes God uses the injured, Yes God uses victims.  and Yes, God can bless them all.  In fact, I see more versions of "less than ideal" circumstances in the Bible than I see of "ideal circumstances"

My friend and I spent a good time yesterday talking about the painful situations we know/ others/
ourselves/etc are in based on sin....broken hearts, rape, sexual compromise, pregnancy, STDs, dishonesty in relationships, cheating, being cheated on, etc etc.  It was a very discouraging conversation until we started talking about how we had seen God use certain people and their stories or how we couldn't wait to see how he used them for His glory.

This is how our convo ended:

"Suck It Joshua Harris, this is the real world and real redemption."

"Yes, stories like these are good. We serve a God who is faithful when we aren't. We serve a God who can redeem the worst situations.  Thats what the Bible is full of - stories like ours, stories like these. Not people who kissed dating goodbye."

And for some reason I feel compelled to share that message.  If you got married young, if you courted instead of dated, if you've never kissed a boy or broke someone's heart or had yours broken, then good for you, really (I don't mean this in a condescending way!)  You have been spared some pain and you made some good decisions.  (Although, even then, I am in no way naive enough to believe you have been immune to heartache, lust, rejection, death, childlessness, etc etc) BUT FOR THE REST OF US, turn to scripture and see how God uses people like us, see how He redeems situations.

So what should we do when broken hearts, damaged relationship, sex and its consequences are a part of most Christian's histories in some way or another?  Turn to Him.  I think what keeps many people from running into the arms of God when they have sinned or been hurt relationally is the idea that seems to seep into Christianity that you are now somehow lacking (which you are, but no more than anyone else because we are all sinful!).  I've seen people who get so down on themselves that they continue to live a lifestyle they shouldn't because they think that's all they deserve now.  I've read many articles that tell you that your marriage and sex life is only doomed to suffer because of your past hurts and sins....and yes, we all have to work through sins in marriages and past decisions can be hard to work through, I think sending the message that you will always have lacking relationships only encourages people to remain in despair, sin and pain.  They are being told, "Don't bother trying, God can't redeem YOUR sin.  He can't restore YOUR brokeness. Yes, he can redeem judgmentalness, gossip, anger, etc, but not sexual sin, not brokeness from relationships."  I've spent far too long after broken relationships thinking who would want someone with so much pain and baggage attached to her history?  Instead of looking at the baggage, I should look to how the Lord has redeemed the past-- trading sorrow for joy, pain for wisdom and growth.  I am the person I am today because of the path He allowed me to take.

If I could share one thing with people my age, that would be it.  I've thankfully been spared from a lot. Others have not.  But their lives are not doomed. How do I know that God can redeem their lives despite brokeness and sin? Joshua Harris told me, just kidding...I read scriptures and learned of David (adulturer who was also considered a man after God's own heart), Rahab (prostitute who helped the Isrealites and is one of the few women listed in the lineage of Jesus), Ruth (pagan widow with bitter mother in law who grew up in a promiscuous culture and was dirt poor when the Lord blessed her with a godly spouse and lineage towards Jesus), Hannah (who was crying in the temple for a long awaited child when the priest thought she was a drunk crazy lady -- God blessed her with a son after her tears and prayers!)

At the end of the day, the story line is about God's glory --- and yes, I think happy pure courtships glorify God.  I also think redeemed wild boys and recovering divorcees can be used for His glory too.  The gospel has very little to do with our perfection anyways (thankfully), so His perfection is shown to be even brighter amidst our brokeness.

I feel like a mom or a teacher or youth leader with my rant today, but I felt like its something I needed to share: Your past, your sin, your hurts are not too big for our savior to REDEEM.  So if you didn't kiss dating goodbye, don't fret, run to the arms of our Lord.