Refine me.

Ever heard that old saying “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another“?

It is proving so true right now in my spiritual life.

All of a sudden, God is making me so aware of my filthiness.

It used to be that I struggled with a few (haha- bear with me!) “big” areas of sin. Little by little, I removed/let go of these sins taking over my life. I assumed that without these sins overwhelming my heart, mind, and life, I would be “okay”. I would be so much “better”. I wouldn’t be down trodden by sin. I was so wrong!- Now that I have moved on from these things, I am so much more aware of the abundance of my life that is other sin.

Pure, filthy, ugly sin. 

Praise the Lord though that He does not leave us in this helpless state to fend for ourselves!

As I am reminded minute by minute of my constant disobedience to God, the very Lover of my soul, He is refining me. He does not give up. With His bare hands, He continues working on His masterpiece, sculpting with intense purpose.   Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

He sees potential in my mess. He has laid out a plan for my life, far better than any of my plans or wildest dreams. He doesn’t give up on me when I choose Facebook, Instagram, and gossip {#worthlessthings} over time in communion with Him {creator of the Heavens and the Earth}.

Instead, He is maturing me in the midst of the muck.

But far better than that, He has already cleansed me. He forgave/forgives me completely.

I’ll leave you with this- Just listen.

As I have listened to it the past few weeks, I thought Landon sang, “For I am your God, I will still give you away.” haha- go figure! My girly mind goes straight to thinking of a wedding…  I finally googled it today to find the lyrics are actually, “I will still give you aid.”

However, I am choosing to stick with my version. My God is so merciful, He will still “give me away”; He will present me blameless. (Isaiah 41:10 and Phillipians 2:15) I am forever thankful for that grace that washes me clean each and every day.

Blown away by the Lord’s faithfulness to those with little faith,

Updates!

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Doing All the Work

Revisiting WordPress today for the first time in months feels kind of funny! But I wanted to stop in for a second to share a thought with you…

I always find myself (disgustingly!) wondering what things would be like if I didn’t “improve” the situation? Do you ever do this?…  I mean wondering:

-What would the kitchen look like if I didn’t clean it?

-Would anyone do laundry (or have clean clothes) around here if I didn’t?

-Would the dishes just pile up if I didn’t load the dishwasher & put them away after?

It’s not a pretty thought. I should gladly help with a smile on my face. 

While cleaning the counters today, after prepping all the ingredients for homemade pizza with sweet friends tonight (:, my mind began wandering. I had to think how much more mothers must feel this way. I know I constantly let my mom do stuff for me without as much a “Thank you!” (Much less the hug she deserves.)  As humans and women, I think deep down we want the recognition. We feel so proud we completed this and that and marked 47 things off our to do list in one day…

But I write all this to say, How much more recognition does Jesus deserve? 

He constantly picks up after me. I forget to acknowledge that.

He cleans up all my messes. I rarely say thank you.

He goes before me into each day. I get there and enjoy myself without ever turning to him.

He makes sure I have a clean outfit heart. I even take that for granted.

And He does it “with a smile on his face,” without expecting anything in return but Faith in Him~ Something this girl needs to learn.

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Heavenly Father, I love the way life can practically throw me into realizing how great You are. You sent your Son for me. How could I deserve that? You know I don’t. The way You love me feels tangible in these moments. Incredibly thankful. Thank you for working for me even when I fail You. Amen

Overdraft

Saturday morning I woke up and immediately headed to the kitchen to find the waffle iron and get cooking. There is nothing better than fresh waffles on a Saturday morning!

While I cooked, my older brother called (the one who used to add up multiple charges from his debit card and subtract that one sum out of his check register..), and told my mom and I that last night when he looked at his Regions app, we both had negative balances…

I knew it couldn’t be right. I keep up with my credits, debits, deposits, everything on my Regions mobile app.. I had just checked it the day before and everything was fine.

After checking into it further, he was right. A check I wrote in February was just deposited, in April. My lack of writing in my check register came back to bite me! I had, in fact, overdrafted. Ughh- Now I was so frustrated at myself… If I had just written everything down, this would not have happened.

But, I called regions, told them my story and even went on to say, “I know it is really due to my lack of keeping track..” The sweet guy I talked to credited back $18 of the $35 I was charged. I was so glad.. although I did selfishly think that getting the entire $35 back would have been better!

Romans 6:14

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

As I calmed down, I started to think of the grace, although partial, the bank had shown me. It reminded me of the amazing grace God shows us say in and day out.

We “overdraft” our “accounts” every single day.

We are naturally sinners.

But our “bank”, God, credits us back the fee, over and over. 

He doesn’t credit us back partially, but always fully.

He forgives and wipes our slate clean.

via pinterest

via pinterest

I couldn’t be more thankful for our forgiving God, and practical metaphors that show us clearly how he loves us fully and consistently shows us grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Lies

Cleaning my room is no fun and a lot of fun at the same time. I love some of the stuff I find; and even end up thinking “who is this girl?” about things long forgotten. It actually cracks me up.

But Thursday night, I found a notebook with notes from a bible study Lauren and I led last semester. I want to share a few things with you just to spur your thinking, if nothing more.

3 big lies women believe:

{1} Who I am and What I Struggle With are the same thing.     Isn’t that an easy trap to fall into? It makes me think of the AA thing.. “I am Billy, and I am an alcoholic.”

{2} Who I Am and What I Do are the same thing.    This is similar yet different. It is more about letting your job, sorority, or hobby define you. Yes, they are apart of you, but not who you are.

{3} Who I Am is not good enough.     Can I get an amen? As women, it can be a constant battle to fight against Satan whispering this in our ears.

Let’s no longer believe these lies. What if we let Jesus Christ’s identity truly affect ours. Would that impact our behavior and daily lives? Would we let it impact more than our words, actions, and the bumper stickers on our car, but our thoughts too?!

Our behavior and thoughts represent our beliefs. But I would go further to say our behavior and thoughts reveal our beliefs.

This shocked me.. it was so spot on. It was so convicting. I hope to throw off these lies and run without abandon into the arms of the Man who speaks only truth- life giving truth- as I enter my twenties.

Truths to replace these lies: 

{1} What you struggle with does not define you.

{2} What you do does not dictate who you are.

{3} We, YOU, are good enough. You were made in the hands of the Almighty carpenter.

Carry these truths with you and have a sweet, relaxing weekend. xoxo

celebrating

I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon/evening! It somehow happened to include most of my favorites! Mitchell and I got into Collierville around 12:30, spent some time at his grandparent’s, then headed to Booyas with my mom! (My all time fave..!)

After Booyas, we had to hit up Target! I tend to have withdrawals while in Starkville with nothing but Walmart! .. It’s rare lately that my mom and I get to go without being in a hurry so this was so much fun!! Thanks Mom

Once we got home, Marley and I went for a quick run before getting ready & heading downtown.

Majestic Grill & Melting Pot were our destinations for the evening! I enjoyed every minute of it! It was so fun to think back on old memories and laugh- It’s crazy to think we’ve spent TWENTY of my birthdays together! So thankful for my parents, grandparents, bros, and M. It feels so clique to say “blessed”… almost even seems like it needs a hashtag before it- haha!- but truly, I am.

3rd birthday together- love it.

3rd birthday together- love it.

After lots of consideration of just about every item on the menu, I decided on Grilled Salmon with a Honey glaze, Sweet Carrots, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes- combined with a few handfuls of their famous parmesan fries we all shared- perfectly satisfying.photo 2

Me and the boys

Me and the boys

My Dad, My Mom, and I

My Dad, My Mom, and I

Nana, Me, and Poppa

Nana, Me, and Poppa

For dessert, we decided on two mixtures for the table. Bananas Foster (which included white chocolate and cinnamon and smelled phenomenal!) and Flaming Turtle (caramel and chocolate, too!- that actually came to the table flaming!). Our “dippers” included fresh strawberries, bananas, graham cracker covered marshmallows, brownies, cheesecake, and red velvet cake!! YUM. We washed it down with coffee. Just like I adore coffee in the morning, I love to have it after dinner.

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

Around here, we crack up at how long birthdays last.. it goes from one day to a weekend to a week to a month! So you probably will hear more about my entrance into the twenties before this is over..

More than ready to hit the hay now & wake up for more relaxin tomorrow.

I hope your weekend is awesome! The days pass slow, but the years go to fast.

Where is your mind set?

This morning, I woke up feeling just kind of BLAH… Not for any particular reason, just out of it sort of. My back aches a lot when I wake up (mild scoliosis + addiction to stomach sleeping)… so that didn’t help.

I reached for my Bible and journal **after checking twitter, facebook, instagram, and email– {nobody’s perfect}. After prayer journaling a bit, I wasn’t feeling into that either. I was praying specifically, “I feel sad for some reason, would You lift my head?”

I decided to open the Word and look up a couple verses Rachel sent this morning.

-Ephesians 6:19

&

-Colossians 3:1-4

which says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Ok God, I hear You. My funk is due to where my mind is. Class, back aches, my birthday, and the number on the scale are of this earth. They are worthless compared to the things of your Kingdom.

I think Colossians 3:5 needs to be repeated in my mind throughout everyday:

 Put to death what is earthly in you.

Easier said than done, right? But let’s all do it today, with the help of the one who is above all things. He is even above the tragedy in Boston yesterday. We were surprised/saddened/hurt by it. But to our God, it was no surprise at all. Let’s find peace in that.

Completely unrelated but while you’re here, check this out.

Pretty for Pennies

I love decorating & a good project!

College has created a lot of opportunity for some low level interior design! New rooms the last 2 years = so much fun!!! My freshman year, it was such a special time, money wasn’t such an issue. However, when I decided to move into a house for my Sophomore year and hardly wanted to reuse any of my same stuff, finding budget friendly finds was a must!!

Let me take you on a tour of my current room & show you where I was able to cut the cost without cutting corners!

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Our living room

This may have been my favorite find last summer! After weeks of craigslist watching and shopping around, I found this couch! It was quite a gem for the price… drum roll please… I paid $52 for this baby!

Abbington Consignment in Collierville had it in their back room. It was listed at just between $75 & $100 and I thought, “well, it will get good use, let’s do it!” When I let the sweet lady there know I wanted to make it mine, she shared the little secret with me that for every month an item stays in their store, it is 10% off! That brought us to $52 and a great addition to our college living room- It has served us well!

The patterned pillow and tan throws are Walmart finds- just $6.00 each! I rounded out the “unneccessary fluffiness” 😉 with 2 soft blue pillows from TJ Maxx- $9 for the pair!

My roommates moved in before I did, and we hadn’t thought into how cold tile would be for our toes! So I set out for a fun, but affordable rug before heading to Starkville. Tuesday Morning served me well… $59! A little more than I would think a rug is worth, but it turns out they go for way more than that!

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My room- A collaboration

My room turned out better than I could have asked! The size is perfect… I really wanted to be able to use my loveseat.

The patterned curtains are Target- Threshold Ferrah Fretwork- I waited months for them to go on sale and I think spent $19.

The lamps I found at Dirt Cheap in Starkville (Target brand). I started with two of the lamp you see on the right- bought them for $5/piece. They were white, shiny, and shadeless, but I knew they could be improved. I covered them in textured brown spray paint and adorned them with Target shades. The day of move in, one of them took a dive for the drive way and shattered! I’ve learned to love the mismatched look now. (I forgive you, Dad ;))

Under the lamps, nightstands handmade by my dad and I with scrap wood we had laying around- FREE! They were inspired by these lovelies on Pinterest. They are the exact same design; I just chose to leave the wood raw. May paint them someday!

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The white sheets on my bed are also Target-Fieldcrest, purchased at dirt cheap. I think the entire set was $10- I’m telling you, that place is like a gold mine.

Shams were West Elm SUPER SALE! They would have cost an arm AND a leg if it weren’t for the sale… That place doesn’t get my money often!

Two throw pillows here are both Pier One! (Thanks Mom!)

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Another favorite find, the love seat. Throughout my search for a couch, I thought how fun it would be to have a small sitting area in my room for friends, coffee and quiet time, or just chilling! After looking at day beds, chairs, benches, etc, I had pretty much decided there just wasn’t money to include that.

One Friday, Mitchell and I headed to an estate sale (stil looking for a couch) and found this! It was in great condition and they were only asking $25!! I thought it would go great with all the white and brown I had already incorporated- had to have it!185928_10151018912053759_1759079055_n

This antique wardrobe was given to me by the greatest family friend ever. I just love the look of it… the storage space and full length mirror make it 10x better! The free price tag is always nice too 😉

Don’t waste your money just for a pretty room!

Be patient (who am I to give that advice?!), look around everywhere you go, see the character/potential in items, and don’t be afraid to DIY!

Happy Friday, friends!

sweet gratitude, II

I am beyond grateful for:

The first day of spring and promise of summer to follow,

The first day of spring and promise of summer to follow,

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An incredible dinner and night of Bachelor fun with friends, Mitchell’s aunt, and cousin’s wife and her sister,

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big breakfasts that stuff tummys for long road trips,

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quiet time with my parents, the Word, and grande Blondes,

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the return of my favorite show, Mitchell lending me his iPad,

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words of wisdom from EmilyLey.com,

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intense card games and laughs with close friends,

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& a friend who gracious let me do her over with all my Mary Kay!

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you..”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

From The Happiness Project: Gratitude is important to happiness. Studies show that consistently grateful people are happier and more satisfied with their lives; they even feel more physically healthy and spend more time exercising. Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you are grateful for what you have, you are not consumed with wanting something different or something more. That, in turn, makes it easier to live within your means and also to be generous to others.

Remember to pause this week, and be grateful whether the circumstances seem great or just tough!

sweet gratitude

Although not our first instinct, gratitude can change perspective.

From The Happiness Project: Gratitude is important to happiness. Studies show that consistently grateful people are happier and more satisfied with their lives; they even feel more physically healthy and spend more time exercising. (woo hoo!) Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you are grateful for what you have, you are not consumed with wanting something different or something more. That, in turn, makes it easier to live within your means and also to be generous to others.

This passage inspired me to stop, or at least slow down, and be thankful for all I have. So once a week, I plan to share it with you!

This week, I am grateful for:

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THIS TYPE OF MOMMA

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CHILDHOOD MEMORIES & DESTIN TRIPS

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READING TIME & PUPPY SNUGGLES

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HOT COFFEE, LEMON POPPYSEED ANYTHING, & BEING PRODUCTIVE

hunger

COOL PINTEREST FINDS

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OCCASIONAL MOTIVATION TO ACTUALLY GET READY

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you..”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Early Mornings

Ever wake up before the sun?

I know… it stinks, you’re tired, your eyes won’t open, it is cold, you can’t even see… just. one. more. minute. I almost always beg.

When I fight the urge to stay under the abundance of fluffy white linens, I end up thanking myself God for it.

My ideal morning has me arising in the darkness, quietly tip toe ing around the house to get just ready enough, grabbing every belonging in my house it seems and heading across town to a coffeehouse. My living room will work too, but that never requires more than PJs which means my eyes are more likely to assume they can slack off on the job.

Preferably, Starbucks would not be my destination, although it absolutely suffices.

For early, quiet mornings, it has got to be the town’s best kept secret… A “hipster” atmosphere makes it that much better.

I have fallen in love with the ease of parking with only 3 other cars in the lot… the way the barista’s whisper before 9 am.. the clicking of the keyboard or turning of old wrinkled pages.. the way my pen runs across a blank page… the promise of new mercies, not yet tainted… It’s warms my soul. It is when I start my day early, in communication with my great God (in all truth, coffee is of no importance) that my storm of a day is less tragic. I am aware of my fresh start, that my sins of yesterday are forgiven, thrown to the side. For this, I keep coming back for more.

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via Pinterest

Starkville’s newest addition called 929… hits my idea of morning perfection on the head. It is located on Main Street, adding to the unmatchable atmosphere. You use unmatching mugs and check out at a counter made of old wood, beautifully battered. I just love their details.

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

via 929 Coffee Bar on Facebook

I’d relate the hours of say 6-9 am to the calm before the storm. You can check your email, but there will hardly ever be more than the 3 am LOFT, Banana Republic, and Coach sale notifications. No teachers asking for homework assignments, yet. But when I close my Bible, leave that place, get in my car, and venture out into the world, onto campus, wherever my day takes me, I will never be in the same state I was in, until tomorrow morning.