Summer Lovin'

Friday, May 27, 2016 6 comments

Summertime is something that most of the modern world looks forward to. It represents freedom from school to children, sun-kissed faces, bonfires, and lots of time spent outside. Even though I am now an adult and do not get a summer vacation as I did when I was in school, there's something about the summer months that feels freeing, like somehow I do get a break.

Summer means a lot of things really. It means chalk drawings on the pavement, kites flying, bubbles being blown out of wands, flowers blooming, gardens thriving, and lawns being mowed. It means pink lemonade, popsicles, watermelon, and s'mores.

Summer means fun- even as an adult. There are about a bazillion reasons that I love summer, but today, I'm sharing my five favorite reasons!

Beach, Beach, Beach

You're probably tired of hearing me yammer on about being from the beach and missing it like crazy, but #sorrynotsorry. ;)
When the weather gets warmer, all I want is that beachy breeze, the waves, and the ability to lay out on my towel and read a book or a magazine.
It's a beautiful thing. And if you have an opportunity, I would urge you to go to the beach this Summer!

Freckled-Faces

My maiden name was "White". And growing up, it was a long standing joke that I was a "White girl". And boy is that ever true! My skin is so white during the winter. It almost glows. And when Summer rolls around, my body gets confused and doesn't really tan so much as it freckles. From far off, I may look like I have a decent(ish) tan, but we you get closer you will quickly see that my "tan" is actually just a large cluster of freckles. ha!
I used to want to be a perfectly-tan, beach-babe, but I have learned to appreciate and even love my freckles as I've gotten older. I think they are cute, and they make me feel unique (in a good way).
So to me, part of Summer time is getting all those freckles back, and I look forward to their arrival every year.

Water! Lot's of Water

I already talked about how much I love the ocean, but honestly, any type of water makes me happy- especially during the Summer. I love going to the pool, dipping my feet in a stream, paddle boarding on the lake, and even playing with the water hose when I'm watering flowers.
Water, for whatever reason, makes me feel free and light-hearted. I have no idea why. But when the temperatures rise and I am better able to enjoy the water, it makes my heart so happy!


The Smell of Sunscreen

Being from the beach, sunscreen was always a pretty prominent smell during Summer. All the extra-white tourists were trying to keep from turning extra-crispy, resulting in an over-abundance of sunscreen use.
As a result, the smell now reminds me of long days at the beach swimming, picking up seashells, and going for walks with my family and friends. Good memories. Good smells.
And I miss it so much that you can often find me using sunscreen as my lotion whether I'm going outside or not.

Ice Cream for Days

I grew up with a family who loves ice cream- but really, who doesn't love ice cream? We ate it year-round, but once Summer arrived, it was constant. Mama would always make dinner, we'd eat together as a family, and then after dinner we would continue watching TV and each have a bowl of ice cream. Sometimes we would go sit out on our porch swing as the sun was setting.



Summer is filled with amazing memories. Ones that I want to keep alive. I want to continue to enjoy the water, and take advantage of when it's warm enough to swim in the pool, go to the beach, and kick around in a stream. I want to embrace my freckles, the smell of sunscreen, and all the other joys that come along with the season.

Believe it or not, Summer is not my favorite season, but it is one that I enjoy immensely, and I don't want that to ever change.

What does Summer mean to you? Is it a happy time? What is your favorite part about the season?

3 Steps Towards a More Joy-filled Life

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 21 comments

You know those moments of introspect, when you learn something disheartening about yourself? Those "oh crap! Am I really like that?" moments. Those are fun, right? Well, when I have those moments, I am often convicted of the fact that I really don't live with joy. I complain about things when they aren't perfect, I'm grumpy when things don't go as planned, and even when I'm having a good day, it's easy to just float through in my own little world.

I have been given so much! There is absolutely no excuse for grumpiness, lingering anger, or even just floating through.
For those of us who know Jesus, the only life we should be living is a joy-filled one.

But what if we don't feel joyful? How do we change that around? Today, I am sharing 3 steps that can help you start living a more joy-filled life.

Praise 

My mama has always told me that when we praise God, things tend to change in our hearts. When we are stuck in a rut and only thinking of ourselves (which is usually when we are joyless, coincidentally) if we decide to praise God instead, we will find much more peace and joy.
Praising God takes the focus off of us and puts it onto God and His goodness.

Service

Psalm 100:2 says "Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!" And I think that this is an indication that serving the Lord can actually cause joy. Sure, serving can be hard work, but if we are serving for the right reasons (A.K.A. for God's glory and sharing His love with others), serving can actually become fun, beautiful, and joy-filled.
Serving God and serving others reminds us of how big the world is, how minuscule most of our problems are, and how good we really have it.


Choose

Though it is true that we cannot do anything good apart from God and His Spirit (John 15:5), the Bible also seems to indicate that joy (and all the other fruits of the Spirit) are, at least to some degree, a choice. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says it best:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
In my eyes, it is absolutely clear that we have a big part in cultivating godliness in our lives, and living in godliness is living by the fruit of the Spirit. So when we aren't feeling joyful, it is our responsibility to both ask God to provide joy and for us to choose to be joyful.
We often say that we cannot change how we feel. Sometimes, that's true. We don't always have the strength to snap our fingers and say, "Ok, I'm joyful now" (that'd be the coolest talent ever though!), but we do have the ability to say, "I will be thankful, I will praise God, and I will remember His goodness". That should jump-start our joy meter pretty well if we are truly focusing on doing those things.

With all the above said, living a more joy-filled life is not a formula. Sometimes, even in service to God, we struggle to find joy. Sometimes, we can't seem to bring ourselves to praise Him. But trust me, if you (we) live these things out consistently, and don't give up, our joy will increase. It may not be overwhelming, but it will happen. Praising God genuinely for all He's done and who He is, serving God with right intentions, and making up our minds to be more joyful will all work together to actually create that joy we've been longing for. God will give us joy if we live in godliness before Him and have our hearts turned in the right direction!

If You Could Make Your Own Non-Profit (Mug-spiration Monday)

Monday, May 23, 2016 21 comments

This past weekend, my mama and I had a long-overdue date. There was an antique fair in Cowpens, so I headed over there first. The antique fair was really cute and if I had more money and room in my house, I could have easily walked away with several awesome furniture pieces!

But where we went after the antique fair was the most unique and intriguing part of the day. I've never seen anything quite like it and it got me thinking.

My 4 Favorite Pinterest Categories (Favorite Things Friday)

Friday, May 20, 2016 10 comments

When people ask me what my favorite social media is as a blogger, the answer is simple: Pinterest! I have loved Pinterest ever since I first got an account four years ago. And though making the switch from a personal user to using Pinterest for my blog has taken some adjusting, Pinterest is still by far my favorite social media platform.

No matter what a person's interests are, it's likely they could find something that they enjoy on Pinterest. There are thousands upon thousands of topics to search, which allows us to find new interests and hobbies anytime we please. But while branching out and finding a new hobby can be fun, I think people still tend to have their go-to categories to search on Pinterest.  That's definitely true for me.

My 4 Favorite Pinterest Categories


Boho Farm House

Like the rest of the world, I am totally in love with Joanna Gaines from Fixer-Upper. I often say that I want to be like her when I grow up...even though I'm technically already a grown-up. I love her style and I love her creativity. But I also love LOTS of color. I like boho decor, but I love the farmhouse look that Joanna often uses too.

These two styles don't typically go together, but I love the combo. And thankfully, Pinterest has this unusual category right there for me! Thank you, Pinterest!
source

Blogging Advice

Ok, so I don't actually search the phrase "blogging advice", but I follow a whole lot of blogging boards that give helpful tips and advice on how to better my blog. This is essential for anyone who is looking to make their blog into their business.
Don't know who to follow? I have a few recommendations for you:

Chelsie, Hey There, Chelsie!
Chelsie is a lifestyle/beauty/fashion blogger. She has all sorts of good makeup and hair tutorials, but she also gives great advice about building your blog and making it grow.

Summer, Coffee With Summer
If you are interested in learning how to engage more authentically in the blogging community, Summer is your girl! Summer is all about authenticity and genuine engagement, and she offers plenty of posts on the subject.

Ruth, Living Well Spending Less
Ruth has a little bit of everything on her blog/Pinterest account. She is a fantastic blogger and has made enough money for her engineer husband to quit his job and stay home with their kids. Though you can also find recipe's, cleaning tips, organization tips, and faith posts on her blog, Ruth is also a great source of blogging wisdom!


Living the Sweet Wife

Guys, I love Chelsea's blog, Living the Sweet Wife, so much that when I want to see a pin about marriage, I don't even need to search "marriage" on Pinterest. I simply need to go straight to Chelsea's Pinterest account. It's that good! There are a lot of good marriage quotes, pins, and blogs out there (like Fierce Marriage and Sobremesa Stories), but LTSW is often my first stop!


C O F F E E

I have an entire board dedicated to coffee (and tea)! Needless to say that I love that beautiful nectar of awakeness (that's a thing, right?)!
So when I want to pin but I'm not sure what category I even want to browse, I have been known to type "coffee" into the search bar. When I do, I am overwhelmed- and drooling- over the decadent drinks that I see.

I particularly like finding really cool pictures of foam art (like this) and I also love a good frappe recipe (like this).


Pinterest is a great social media outlet for anyone- whether they blog or not. Pinterest is helpful in pursuing my blogging goals, but I would spend a lot of time on Pinterest even if I never blogged another day.

Do you use Pinterest? What are your favorite types of pins to search for? Comment below!


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Grace & Delight

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 5 comments
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Grace. What do you think of when you hear that word? How about "delight"? What do those words mean to you?

When I was at the beach recently, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with one of my best friends, Grace. She and I went for a short stroll on the beach and then sat in the sand for a while talking.

Learning from Your Bliss

Monday, May 16, 2016 18 comments

Last Friday, I hopped into my car after a half-day at work. I drove away from Charlotte, excited to arrive at my destination: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.

Ocean Isle is comforting. I grew up there. It's beautiful, it's where my friends and family are, and it's a lot less busy than a more commercial beach. Walking into the waves of Ocean Isle offers a certain kind of bliss that only comes from feeling completely at home. 

5 Reasons You Should Explore Your Own City or Town

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 28 comments

It's hard to believe, but Taylor and I have been living in Charlotte for 9 months now! For a while, I thought I'd never get used to the busyness, horrendous traffic, and my stunning lack of friends. But thankfully, I've made some friends, I've adjusted to the busyness (but not so much the traffic), and the Charlotte Spring-time has captivated me. I'm finally settling in, getting used to it here, and maybe even starting to like it! *gasp*.

One thing I learned when I went to college, was that exploring "hidden gems" and looking for places I've never been before is a lot of fun. That's what I've been trying to do in Charlotte.

I'm also of the belief that no matter where a person lives- no matter how tiny the town, or how gigantic the city- there's always something new to explore and learn about where we live.
I'm trying to apply that to myself, and I definitely would like to see others apply it too! Here's why.

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