Monday, October 28, 2013

It's not where you are, but who you're with.

I'm back friends, and I want to thank you all for the love, support, and kind words that were sent to me through comments, e-mails, Twitter, texts, and so much more. I am forever grateful for this incredible blogging community. Days are still really hard but God's presence is so evident in my life lately. I am thankful for the beautiful little reminders of Martha in each day and the constant assurance that the Lord is with and for me.

This weekend was one full of my blog's namesake- unspeakable joy! I had been looking forward to this past weekend for a solid month, when I knew my two best friends and maids of honor were road-tripping to Raleigh to visit us for the first time in our married home! It meant so much that my sweet friends made the hefty trip (Natalie from Greenville and Parkes from Rock Hill) to come love on me and just be together! All is right in the world when the Trio (as we call ourselves) is together. 

Of course, we had to take a picture as soon as the girls pulled up to our house late Friday afternoon after we all had full days of work and they had a long drive. Please excuse (or appreciate, your choice!) my lovely ensemble of yoga pants, size large t-shirt, and fuzzy socks. Best friends don't judge, so I took full advantage of cozy clothes! The girls were welcomed with a glass of moscato and our favorite dessert of Funfetti cookies as we stayed up late catching up.

Saturday morning my sweet Andy got up to get breakfast supplies and the McCalls made a yummy breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee, and a pancake bar. My heart was so happy to share a meal with them and just laugh at our little dining room table. We got a late start after a relaxing morning and I drove the girls around downtown and we shopped at Cameron Village a bit. I discovered a fabulous little gelato, coffee and cupcake spot call Sugarland so we had to take a quick treat break!

Of course, our whole weekend revolved around food so I decided to take the girls to The Cowfish out near North Hills shopping center. Their burgers are incredible and they are also famous for their Bento boxes that combine mini burgers with incredible sushi rolls! I haven't had the guts to try one yet but I plan to on my next visit. Natalie especially loved Cowfish because she could get fried pickles as a side with her burger... her favorite!

After dinner we hit up Redbox and had a casual, lazy night back at home. We woke up Sunday and had brunch at Flying Biscuit Cafe- one of my absolute favorite places in Raleigh. How can you not love a meal that comes with sugar-sprinkled doughy goodness and some cranberry apple butter?

I was so sad to send the girls off in the afternoon knowing that we faced a week "back to reality." I truly look forward to the weekends, but it's hard being in a city where I don't know many people. I am in the process of trying to find time to meet up with quite a few blog friends and I am so excited to get the ball rolling on some of these plans. I love hanging out with my husband, but it was so great to have a girl's weekend for a little change of pace! Heart-to-hearts, shopping, and sweets are so good for the soul. Don't you agree? 

Here's to having fun weekends to recap! :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A letter to Martha.

No one should ever have to say goodbye to a friend. 

I am heartbroken to have to write this blog post, but I’ve been thinking, writing, praying and crying over it for days and I want to share. It seems as if my words can never adequately express the loss and sadness I feel, but they definitely cannot even begin to describe the thankfulness for the life of my sweet friend Martha, who was taken so suddenly from us this weekend while I was at Homecoming with my other best friends.

Out of all my friends who don’t have blogs of their own, she was the the biggest fan of my little corner of the blogosphere. She was my accountability partner and would always text me, especially after graduation, nagging that I hadn’t updated in a while. We would both laugh about how our lives really aren’t that exciting and that neither of us would have anything to write about.

One of Martha’s favorite things was to write letters. Especially while she was at Camp DeSoto, we would be pen pals and share about our summers to get over the time apart until we could all be back at Wofford again. Marth even sent Andrew and I a sweet housewarming card, one that I’ve always kept close but now keep it on the fridge so I can think of Martha every morning. Thanks for loving my blog and loving me, Martha. I hope you are reading this letter one way or another, since I’m pretty sure you can’t put a price on the postage it would take to send it to where you undoubtedly are now.
my favorite picture of Martha

Dear Martha/HM/Marfa/Bestie-for-the-Restie:

I am so thankful that our friendship blossomed over these past few years at Wofford. I love that we ended up sitting next to each other in Jenny Johnson’s accounting class and then in our favorite finance class (jokes). Thank goodness you were there because I’m really only good with words and I would have been so lost without your help.

I’m glad that you were someone who understood my obsession with social media—formulating the perfect phrase in under 140 characters, choosing the perfect filter, etc.—and that we could talk about our Klout scores and say “Imma tweet that!” after every laughable, quotable moment.

Thanks for also boo-hooing with me over a million wedding videos. My heart is absolutely broken knowing that you will never have a wedding of your own.  You were one of the most excited of my friends the night Andrew proposed, and I will never forget how you brought us all Ring Pops for our post-ring celebration! I will always cherish my beautiful wedding photos, but I am especially grateful that you stood by my side in the turquoise dress with your gorgeous, fiery mane (as you called it) this past summer as you supported Andrew and me in our covenant of marriage. Though you will never get to plan the “camp-y” wedding we always talked about, you have stood, clothed in white linens, prepared as the bride of Christ, sanctified and justified by His love. How can I cry knowing this is true?!

I just wish I could call you. As silly as it sounds, I really do. I really wish I could hear your voice and talk about what kind of crazy customers we got today, what shenanigans Bear got into, or how hard it is to be patient and trust in God’s will in life post-Wofford.

I always wanted to come visit Nashville, but this was not the way I ever envisioned it would go. The past few days in Nashville for your visitation and funeral were so hard but so wonderful at the same time. What a blessing it was to see the many parts of your life collide in one place to remind me how special of a girl you are. It was so great to meet your Episcopal friends and DeSoto sisters, reunite with so many fellow Terriers, and hug your strong family. As weird as it sounds, with all my best friends around me, all I could think was that something was missing. And that something was you. As much as I am missing you, I am so thankful you gave me the biggest, best hug ever on Friday night. I will never forget that. Thanks for letting this "hugger" into your personal bubble and letting me love on you, even though you were not always okay with it :)

Life will never be back to the “normal” it was before, and my heart aches as I anticipate tomorrow morning when I will have to get up and go into work, just like I did last week when you were with me. I’m sad, and it’s okay to be sad for a while. However, I am so encouraged by how you lived your life, Martha. You were a friend to all and such a light for the Lord. I will never forget the many wonderful experiences we had in RUF with ministry team and making hundreds of waffles and being the loser seniors who played with the guinea pigs instead of mingling. Your love and dependence on Jesus was so evident, and that is what gives me comfort. You showed so many campers and fellow counselors at Camp DeSoto the love of Christ, and because of that I know that you are doing line dances and rejoicing in heaven.

I remember you telling me your favorite verse, and I will carry it with me in the upcoming bittersweet days:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
-John 14:27

Martha, though you are no longer a phone call away, I rejoice that you undoubtedly know the full extent of the peace of our Savior. I love you so much and I will see you before I know it. 

junior year spring break in the dirty myrtle!

senior year boy's bid day

senior year spring break in St. Martin!

bachelorette fun!

interim 2012 in Australia

Wofford football with my best friends!

RUF seniors with our favorite campus minister!

....and that, my friends, is dear Marth defined in a photograph. I can't help but smile.

Thank you so much to all my blog and "real life" friends who have already showered me and Martha's family with love and prayers for healing. So thankful for each and every one of you. Go call your best friend and ask them how their day was-- you will never regret it. 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

a Homecoming and a mini-hiatus

Good morning, lovelies! 

Just wanted to pop in to let you know I will be taking a brief blogging break for the remainder of the week. I feel like I've been counting down to this long weekend for ages! Andrew has his fall break and it's Wofford Homecoming... the timing couldn't have been better!

We haven't been home to SC in what seems like ages and I am SO excited to see my family, catch up with my college friends (I'll miss you, Char!!), cheer on my Terriers and eat at all my favorite Greenville and Spartanburg spots over this long weekend.


A quick trip home is just what the doctor ordered. I will be back soon, with exciting recaps and hopefully lots of pictures to share with you! 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday words: You can't compare.

You know how sometimes you feel like God is just continually knocking at the door of your heart? He is persistently reminding you in small ways of His presence and a lesson He is trying to teach you, but sometimes you just don't get it until it smacks you in the face? That happened to me today. 
God is good.

Yesterday, I was reading this She Reads Truth devotional from Genesis about sisters Leah and Rachel, both who are married to Jacob. Rachel is the younger of the two, more beautiful in Jacob's eyes. Long story short, the girls' father tricks Jacob into marrying the older, less attractive Leah before he may have Rachel's hand. The Lord sees that Leah is unloved in her marriage and allows her to have Jacob's sons, while Rachel is barren and unable to produce heirs. Though Jacob rejects Leah in his comparison of her to Rachel, God sees her heart and worth, which he values enough to give her the responsibility of carrying on the lineage of David. 
God is good. 

And today in church, we dove into Ephesians, talking about how the nature of the human heart lies in comparison, yielding feelings of both inferiority and superiority. How often do we gain our identity through comparison of ourselves to others? All too often we stratify ourselves based upon our talents or gifts, lending to hostility whether this comparison puts us on our high horse or keeps us down in the dumps. But guess what? Check out Ephesians 2:14: For he himself is our peace. Jesus took this hostility, this divide, and gave us peace on the cross. Everyday, we need this reminder of the Gospel so we recognize that our value lies in our value. Sounds silly, but it's true. 
God is good.

Comparison is so prevalent, but I think in the social media/blog world it's especially easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others. All too often I'll hop on a new blog, and quickly become caught up by the fact that my number of followers is laughable compared to theirs. It's easy to be jealous when I see gorgeous OOTDs on Instagram and I stare at my full closet and see "nothing" to wear. And I can't tell you how many times I've perused LinkedIn and begin questioning myself when I see that this person has MY dream career and I'm still sending out cover letters like it actually is my job. But that's not the point. Our worth is in none of these things. 
God is good.

Sisters, though you may feel like Leah at times, falling short of your own expectations and that of others, God loves you and has not forgotten you. He is SO good. Remember that your desire should be in pleasing Him. He shall fulfill like no paycheck, riding boots, or Instagram followers can. I could use this reminder every day, and wanted to share what's been in my head and on my heart these days. 

Happy Sunday, sweet friends!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Career Day

Throwback Thursday (#tbt) posts are overwhelming my insta-feed, but I sometimes wonder why people in bloggy world don't do as many #tbt blog posts!

I was trying to think of what subjects are worthy enough to bring up again (because let's be real, I really  hate it when me feed is blown up with "#tbt"s from last week. No. You're doing it wrong). You gotta go wayyyyy back, so that's what I'm doing. 

Considering my brain is constantly on job-search mode, I figured I would enlighten my lovely readers with some of my career aspirations of days past, in no particular order. You know you wanted to do some of these things too. Sidenote: Hi, potential employers. If you're reading this, 1) Thanks for stopping by and I promise I'd be the best employee ever. 2) I promise I don't change my mind like this on what I want to be anymore. If you want me, you've got me.  Now let's get on to it!

I'm going to guess that a lot of us wanted to go this route. My obsession with a career as a pop artist came at an oddly mature age, most likely inspired by Lizzie McGuire's success in Italy. That movie was so awesome though. I can actually sing, but my musical pursuits ended when I quit viola lessons sophomore year of high school. So, on to the next one. 

girl power right here. 

Also a popular kid's career choice, and it was actually pretty feasible until I realized that I'm really not that great at science. I mean, I ended up being an English major-- talk about a 180. I entertained this career choice into high school, even dreaming of vet school at UGA or Auburn. Turns out I don't like to see animals suffer and I also don't like organic chemistry. 

as much as I would love to stare at pups all day....

Yes, you read that right. Anyone that truly knows me would laugh when I told them that at one point I wanted to serve in a branch of the military. No disrespect to our soldiers at all-- I am so thankful for our Armed Forces and I admire all that they do to serve our country. It's a tough job and I don't think I could do it. It's just that I don't think Keurig machines and statement necklaces are allowed in the military...

the Hilary Duff theme here is unintentional...

professional golfer.
I started playing golf with my dad when I was little but didn't truly get (semi) serious about it until high school when I was captain of the team. At that point I had moved past my middle-school dreams of hitting it big like Michelle, Morgan and Annika, but I entertained the idea of trying for a college scholarship. If you think about it, it seems like a pretty sweet gig. Getting paid to play a game you love, traveling all over, and wearing cute clothes? I'm in.

Surely there were some careers that you dreamed of at one point that you can't help but giggle at? Or maybe you're doing exactly what you've wanted to do since forever!

What did you want to be when you grew up?


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our wedding: Something old, new, borrowed, blue

They weren't necessarily "old" in the sense that many brides use heirloom items, but I wore the pearl earrings Andrew gave me as an anniversary present years ago. I wear them almost everyday, which almost made them more special that I could wear them on our big day!

I wore a new multi-strand pearl necklace that went with my bridesmaid's freshwater pearl necklace and wore some new sassy gold heels! And my dress, of course. 

I wore a multi-strand pearl bracelet that my mom had made with beautiful sapphires and rubies on the clasp. I was so surprised when she told me she was actually going to give it to me as she helped me put it on! That still counts as borrowed though, right?! :)

I think this picture is hilarious! I look like I'm mad, but I was just in disbelief as my mama was telling me the bracelet was now mine!

I carried the handkerchief my sweet pledge class gave me before graduation in my dress pocket! (Yes, my dress had pockets... it was AWESOME!)

Only ZTA sisters will understand the significance of this picture!

Did you follow this wedding tradition when you got married? Do you have any special items in mind for when it's your turn to tie the knot?!