the last couple days







a little date night with the hubby to shane's, our favorite (and some evidence for you of what i look like when i eat. enjoy that).

also, i might just be wearing the cutest shirt ever today. i found it at marshall's last night for twelve bucks and, well, i'm in love. 

happy friday, y'all!


Rafiki Mail

Eeep!

(That's my excited voice.)

My friend, Amanda (who I wrote about in this post), just sent our Kenya team an email about this new program The 410 Bridge is doing called Rafiki Mail. In Swahili, "rafiki" means friend (which you should probably know if you've ever seen The Lion King). 

And guess what?!

I just found one of my sweet little Kenyan friends on the website. His name is Mutua and I met him during our trip to Ngaamba last October. 


Here's one of the photos I took of Mutua one afternoon as we sat out in the churchyard coloring pictures together.


The whole premise of Rafiki Mail is that we create our own account on the site and log in a few times a month to take a photo of ourselves holding up messages for one another. 

Here's my first message, sent today:


The 410 Bridge team on the ground in Kenya then takes these photos, travels all over to visit each village, and gives the pictures to the children who have been selected for Rafiki Mail. Then each student writes his or her own message. Afterwards, the 410 Bridge takes their photos and heads back to their headquarters to upload the photos to the site.

Whew.

That's a lot of work just to get a few messages across the world, but I couldn't be more grateful for the 410 Bridge and their dedication to these communities. They have a very special place in my heart.

I can't wait to hear from you, Mutua!

fall favorites


Hi friends!

Ohmigosh, I can't wait for fall to get here. It's teasing me right now with its cool breezes, but every afternoon the weather turns back into summer. And I'm over summer. So over it.

I'm ready for pumpkin lattes and pumpkin patches (did anyone else notice most of my favorites involve pumpkins?). I'm ready for cozy sweaters to wear while the Hubs and I go on our 4th anniversary trip to Colorado. I've never been there and if I can find those gorgeous Aspen trees I will be blissfully happy.

Oh, and the most important thing I'm looking forward to this fall? Georgia Southern football. Duh.

What are some of your fall favorites?

hotter than 50 shades of grey


Hi friends!

I've had an annoying case of the sniffles for the last week or so...along with everyone else I work with and my husband. I haven't been able to shake it (perhaps because I never took a day off to get away from sick people) and after such a busy weekend, I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a train (or something like that). 

So I stayed at home. It was fantastic.

I slept in. I watched bad reality television. I made toads-in-a-hole. I walked the dogs. I cleaned our room. I washed the dishes. I painted my nails. I made chicken noodle soup from scratch. I drank hot orange tea. And I took some time to do a Bible study. 

It was a full day (and it's still not over) but it wasn't like the rat race it often can be. There was peace in the rest and I feel a hundred times better than I did at 8 a.m. This is what Sundays are supposed to be about, but I admit I'm still not as good about the Sabbath as I should be. Sometimes my weekends look a lot like my work days.



Something else I've noticed about taking the time to rest is this: all the things I need to do 1) get done and 2) they get done better than they would have without that extra bit of sleep or that half hour of Tia and Tamera. I'm totally serious. Being busy doesn't make us at better at being busy (nor does procrastinating help, either). It just makes us more stressed out and, ultimately, less capable of doing what we need to do. 

And, today, I needed to be at home where I could let my body heal and get my mind focused back on the things that honor my body, my heart, and my soul. Which brings me to Song of Songs.

Have you ever read it? I'm sure you know some about this Old Testament book of the Bible. But have you ever really sat down and studied what it's about? The only word I have is damn (and I mean that in the best possible way). 

I look at this mostly erotic book and I start to get a little flustered because it's way hotter than Fifty Shades of Grey. The girls who are so sloppy over themselves at the thought of a man like Christian Grey should take a peek at chapters 4 and 5 of this love story because it will make them weak in the knees. It doesn't make me feel like property or tell me that sex and love are so complex they must be detailed in a contract. It tells me about a Man who died for me, a Bridegroom who waits with bated breath for the moment when He can unveil His Bride. It tells me how His passion for me is more exquisite than the best lover I've ever had. It makes me want more of my husband and more of my God at the same time. It also kind of makes me go "Pierce? Pierce who?" because that's how perfect the love story is between Christ and His Bride. That's how intimate the whisper is from our Savior to us. 

I can't do this book justice. I wish I could. Please read it. Not because some random blogger told you to; just because you are beautiful and you are worthy of a love story that reads far better than anything your average novelist could have conjured up. 

Here are some of my favorite passages:

"My dear lover glows with health...red-blooded and radiant! He's one in a million. There's no one quite like Him! My golden one, pure and untarnished, with raven black curls tumbling across his shoulders. His eyes are like doves, soft and bright, but deep-set, brimming with meaning like wells of water. His face is rugged, his beard smells like sage, His voice, His words warm and reassuring. Fine muscles ripple beneath His skin, quiet and beautiful. His torso is the work of a sculptor, hard and smooth as ivory. He stands tall like a cedar, strong and deep-rooted, a rugged mountain of a man., aromatic with wood and stone. His words are kisses, his kisses words. Everything about Him delights me, thrills me through and through! That's my lover, that's my man, dear Jerusalem sisters." -Song of Songs 5:10-16

"The sweet, fragrant curves of your body, the soft, spiced contours of your flesh invite me and I come. I stay until dawn breathes its light and night slips away. You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless."- Song of Songs 4:6-7

a shower for baby


this week was a lot of hard work, but it made for a wonderful baby shower this afternoon and another fun day with the family!

thanks to my friend, cassy, and my sweet mother, the three of us were able to put together a baby shower for my sister-in-law, marie, and my brother, tommy, who are expecting their fourth child in october.

marie recently self-published her own fantasy novel, so we thought it would be nice to add touches of love for books and stories throughout the room.

first, i put together centerpieces for each table with children's books and teacups i thrifted from goodwill. 


then my favorite part of preparing for the shower was figuring out useful ways to use some of the arts and crafts supplies I have saved from other events, like tissue paper (for the poms poms), vintage books and ribbon (for the pennant) and tags (for the teacups). 

cassy was a huge help! she had tons of cute ideas for the games and favors, and she did most of the leg work making sure the church rental was good to go before we arrived this morning. i don't know what i would have done without her!

finally, with some help from hobby lobby, i actually got the hang of those finicky cake pops! they were a big hit and my little sister, kati, even requested some of them for her 16th birthday coming up. anyone want to come help me?




thank you, thank you, thank you to my mommy for making all the fantastic food! i love you.


















to bang or not to bang

...yeah...that sounds dirty.

It's not.

I've had my bangs for about nine months and I absolutely love them. Unfortunately, I don't like the hassle of keeping them trimmed and my hair is so fine that after just a few hours of hanging over my perpetually oily forehead my bangs become stringy and dirty. Baby powder helps alleviate the problem, but it's a problem I'd rather just not have.

So...do I keep them? Or do I let them grow out?

Here are some photos in case you need help deciding.




When I was little my mother was very pro-bangs, as was Cassy's mother, Debbie (see first photo).

But my teen years were unashamedly anti-bangs. I didn't want to look like I had "mall hair" or "the Kennesaw Claw" as Butch Walker likes to say (Kennesaw is a northern suburb of Atlanta).


Look at all those shiny foreheads, y'all!


If you need more help deciding since I am, obviously, no longer a five year old child or fifteen year old highschooler, feel free to peruse the last nine months of my blog posts.

Go on. I'll wait.

not ready, but willing.


I've been debating with myself for the last few days about whether or not I would write this post. But I've shared so much with you guys already it feels a bit ridiculous to hold back this huge thing that's been taking up most of the space in my head- and my heart- lately.

It's possible that I could be pregnant.

It's not likely, but it's possible. I guess it's been possible at any point in time since the Hubs and I got married, but I was always on birth control. And I was super-diligent with it. But that's beside the point. What I mean to say is that, right now, my body could be doing something more important than it's ever done before...and all I can do is sit and wonder.

The relief of having jumped the hurdles of "Do we want kids?" to "Yes, we do" to "Okay, we should get off birth control" to "Now we're officially done with contraception" to actually doing the deed is palpable. I can't believe I'm not freaking out right now. Truly. Everything up to this moment has just been three straight months of fear-induced anxiety and now I'm suddenly calm. Can someone explain this to me?

I suppose it has a lot to do with prayer. Well, I don't suppose. I know. But still. I always get a little surprised when God comes through for me. I don't know that I should admit that on the internet where it will never go away, but I just did. Sue me. I doubt I'm the only person who's ever felt that way before. And I have proof: there are lots of us in the Bible.

I'm not ready for this, though. I'm not ready. But I am willing. And despite all my existential questions about the nature of God's will versus ours and how He chooses to create life when He could just as easily not... I am calm. Maybe I'm even a little at peace. Halle-freakin-lujah! God's will is just a big mystery to me and I like it that way. If I had all the answers then I wouldn't need Him. And I do. Oh Lord, how I do. Not knowing what comes next (and now filling up my time with questions about whether or not I should ever drink alcohol again or keep drinking coffee every day since I could end up pregnant at any point in time) has me going back to God every single day for confirmation that what we've decided to do wasn't just our decision. It was His first. There's so much comfort in that. In a weird way, not being on birth control is a stress-reliever because the choice is not really ours. I can see you bristling right now (don't think I can't) because we live in a culture that's so decidedly pro-choice (in every way)...but Pierce and I have done what we can do. We've done what we should do. We did make a choice and the choice was to stop trying to control everything and walk into this with great faith. 

We're not being passive; we're just tired of playing God.

I fully believe that God will never force His will on us. I know that my birth control pills were no match for what He wanted (I mean, hello? Can we talk about Mary and the virgin birth of Jesus for a sec?) but I also believe that should we have chosen to keep using them, I probably wouldn't have gotten pregnant. If Mary had not been willing to carry Jesus, God wouldn't have chosen her. She wasn't ready either...but she was willing.

I've thought about this a hundred different ways, and I still don't really know what I'm talking about. Just humor me. Whatever it is that God wants to accomplish with me could probably be accomplished another way. But I imagine that if I chose another way it would be much more difficult, perhaps even more dangerous, and far more time-consuming. Like "going around your ass to get to your elbow" as my Dad likes to say.

I'm not ready to be a mother. I am frightened of what it means for my identity as a woman, as a wife, as a dreamer. But I'm more frightened of what I will miss out on if I turn and run in the other direction. So even though I'm not ready, I am willing. We are willing. And that's all there is to it.

best day ever...or is it?

{Just another Tangled reference for you guys.}

This is me right now.

I feel like I'm giving myself a little bit of whiplash with this emotional roller coaster I'm on.

Prayers please :).

it's my birthday!


I'm 27 today! 

And I'll admit it: I stood in front of the mirror last night and took an inventory of the lines and marks on my face. So far, so good. There's a little bit of sagging happening around the cheek area (I blame my high cheekbones, which are both a blessing and a curse) but I think that sunscreen I've been wearing since the age of 18 has definitely done its work.

So that's my superficial post for the day. 

{Don't tell me you've never stood in front of the mirror on your birthday and realized you are not, in fact, 19 years old anymore...unless you are 19 and, in that case, I want you to know that your skin IS beautiful...NO ONE can see that tiny mark on your chin...and please, please, pretty please DO NOT go lay out in the sun/tanning bed and bake! Your 27 year old self will appreciate it.}

Anyway, I didn't get much sleep last night (four hours to be exact) but today has been wonderful! Pierce and I celebrated my birthday early this weekend by being lazy, watching "The Hunger Games", and buying books at Barnes and Noble. I got Tracey Garvis Graves' On the Island and let me just tell you...it's like "The Blue Lagoon" meets "Love Actually". I finished it in less than 24 hours.

Today, I got up early and took my time getting ready. I curled my hair and put on my favorite maxi dress. My sweet parents called to wish me a happy birthday, along with my dearest friends, and my Facebook notifications reached the triple digits (and every single one of you know the only reason I know that is because FB tells me when I log on...my superficiality has its limits).

When I got to work, I discovered a beautiful, Tangled-themed birthday cake homemade by my sweet office mate, Bree, sitting on my desk. She even put it in a cast iron skillet!

{Go watch the movie and you'll understand why that's so darn adorable.}

I have been very blessed. I'm thankful for another year of living and another day of friendship, joy, and love. Thank you to everyone who has made my life so incredibly wonderful. I love you all.






a friday in studio

Hi friends!

Here's what's going on in my neck of the woods:


Pastor Ashley and his wife, Pastor Jane, have just made their move from Australia to Atlanta to start another Influencers Church campus here, and, today, they were in studio shooting scripts for their television show "Nothing Is Impossible". Since I wrote those scripts, I was working as the script supervisor today. Fun stuff, you guys! Way better than sitting in an office staring at a computer all day.

And, now, I'm off work about to do some karaoke-ing (?). 

Have a great weekend!

balls and chains: 2; the ga peaches: 1


Last night, we went to trivia again at Rocky Mountain Pizza in the city. The girls were hoping to keep our short winning streak going but, sadly, we lost to the boys (again). It was a tough night, though! Lots of difficult questions, so at least they didn't win easily. That always makes me feel better...and the fact that I knew Canada was the answer for the Native American word for "big village" (Guatamala, boys? Really?) and that the Titanic was the sister ship of the Olympic and the Brittanic (I still can't believe that one was above Pierce's pay grade...he should have known the answer just because he knows me). 






love does


Hi friends!

This isn't an official book review or anything but, man, I just have to share Love Does with you.

Have you heard about it? It's basically this romantic, whimsical tale of a man and his love for Christ, and he writes every chapter in anecdotal narratives that make you want to sail off on an adventure...because that's what love does...it moves, it gives, it looks for ways to make things new.

Here's a short excerpt from the first chapter, which was featured on Donald Miller's blog (he's the author of another fantastic book, Blue like Jazz) Before you start reading, know that the author of Love Does, Bob Goff, is a lawyer who likes to use Disney's Tom Sawyer Island as his office whenever it strikes his fancy:

"There are no admission requirements at Tom Sawyer Island. It doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, old or young, religious or not. There are no lines on Tom Sawyer Island; it can be whatever you want it to be. You can do countless things there. Most of them involve running and jumping and using your creativity and imagination. It’s a place where you can go and just do stuff. In that way, it’s a place that mirrors life well—at least the opportunity to do much with our lives.

I like this place because a guy named Disney had a hair-brained scheme to make a magical world where people could go and feel free. And it worked. And if he could do that, I could be a lawyer maybe or write a book or work with the justice system in Uganda. I come here to remind myself we get to make the world we want, in large part.

Somewhere in each of us, I believe there’s a desire for a place like Tom Sawyer Island, a place where the stuff of imagination, whimsy, and wonder are easier to live out—not just think about or put off until “next time.” This is a weighty thing to think about on my island, but I often consider what I’m tempted to call the greatest lie of all time. And that lie can be bound up in two words: someone else.

On Tom Sawyer Island, I reflect on God, who didn’t choose someone else to express His creative presence to the world, who didn’t tap the rock star or the popular kid to get things done. He chose you and me. We are the means, the method, the object, and the delivery vehicles. God can use anyone, for sure. If you can shred on a Fender or won “Best Personality,” you’re not disqualified—it just doesn’t make you more qualified. You see, God usually chooses ordinary people like us to get things done.

As I sit on my island, it becomes clear we need to stop plotting the course and instead just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by getting to the “do” part of faith. That’s because love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does."

And just because I can't say enough about how amazing this book is, along with the man who wrote it and the God we both serve, here are a couple more excerpts that really struck my heart:

"Maybe God is doing some inexplicable things in your life. Each of us gets to decide every time whether to lean in or step back- to say yes, ignore it, or tell God He has the wrong person...We are all meant to save many lives. God is always trying to save lives and it seems like He usually uses the least likely people to do it. So the next time God asks you to do something that is inexplicable, something you're sure is a prank because it requires a decision or courage that's way over your pay grade, something that might even save lives, say 'yes'."

"Every day, God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It's not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary. He simply invites us. God asks what it is He's made us to love, what captures our attention, what feeds that deep, indescribable need of our souls...and, then, leaning over us He whispers, 'Let's go do THAT together'."