Day 11: #TBT : What A Year Can Do.

Last year I wrote a blog on my “wishful doing series” about a weekend experience I had with two friends.

You can refresh your memory here:Wishful Weekend

In my blog post last year (around this time), I wrote about a sweet day that happened at  my house with two sweet friends.

One friend on the sewing machine, the other popping in for a visit.

It was on that day that we rejoiced with the  “Pop in for a visit” friend, Laine.

She popped in that day with her normal excited self.

Peppy, bubbly, always smiling and laughing.

But this particular day last year was the last day that her older brother, Zane, had chemo treatments.

He had suffered and battled from testicular cancer, a journey that still gets Laine a little choked up when she talks about it… because God was so good.

It is my great delight to share that Zane is not only chemo free but CANCER FREE.

Not an ounce of that mess left in him.

Man, a lot can happen in a year! 

But I think what I love about reading blogs from blogs past is seeing what all the Lord can do in our lives in one year.

One. Short. Year.

With Laine, that one short 365 days, led to a lot of incredible miracles, moments, and movement.

But she did it.

And she did it well.

Laine and I were college roommates and close friends.

She was so much a part of my later college years and on after that her story tends to touch a different spot on my heart.

(^^these gals… the 4 best roommates that ever walked the earth. Seriously.)

Laine dreamed for most of her high school and college life of being a Physical Therapist.

Not exactly the simple road, but she wouldn’t be Laine if she did things that didn’t challenge her and tackle them with a force only Laine can muster up.

Laine’s journey to applying for PT school was a long one, a road of long hours and jobs that weren’t high paying.

Frustrating moments and the true life of the early 20 something year old.

In the midst of her process of getting into PT school, she found out that her older brother was battling  cancer, and she had just begun a relationship with her now husband, Dustin.

Laine shares:

“I was driving 10 hours through sleet and snow to Harding University for my first PT school interview.  The day I left was the day we were finding out that what we were fighting was a tumor.” 

It was in that where the movement of God, I believe, catapulted Laine into a new space of trust.

Trusting God with her school choice.

Trusting God with her brother, his story, his destiny.

Trusting God with this new guy she was seeing.

Something that I don’t think would have come to pass had Laine not had to face those mountains… all at once.

but a lot can happen in a year.

Because I guarantee you when Laine received those phone calls about her brother her first thought was not that he would be cancer free.

I am sure she didn’t imagine that in a year she would have been accepted into one of the TOP PT Schools in the USA.

I am sure she didn’t imagine that she would marry the guy who walked into her life at one of the most challenging times.

But a lot can happen in a year.

Because within that season of many mountains to move, the miraculous began happening before Laine’s eyes.

Because of her brother’s battle, Laine learned to pray.

It may seem small to many of you, but Laine learned the power of her prayers and coveted others prayers in the midst.

but only prayers of positive words.

Laine shares:

“Dustin in the mean time grew close to me and my gals.  We’re better than ever. He was always texting me verses and listening when I needed an ear to hear. My prayer was Acts 3:16.  ‘And His name- By faith in His name- has made this man (zane) strong who you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given Zane this perfect health in the presence of you all. YES AND AMEN.’  During the fight, speaking truth aloud was so very important.  There were times I would be in the Word praying it aloud and as the words came out there was still doubt, but hearing them would move small mountains in my own faith.” 

I’d say that’s true.

It was in the process of praying and believing that the Lord was using this battle for His glory that Laine and Zane saw the miraculous come to pass in the life of one of Zane’s nurses.

It was in her witnessing Zane go through this chemo and battle and the way he loved and trusted God that SHE became a believer AND her son did too.

NOT TO MENTION, Zane reached out to Lance Armstrong’s surgeon asking him about surgery and he EMAILED him back. A free consultation from the BEST testicular cancer doctor in (maybe) the world.

I can’t make this stuff up.

The stories are endless of what Laine saw as she prayed for her brother.

The stories are endless of how she got into PT school.

The stories are endless of how God put her husband in her life at just the right time.

a lot can happen in a year. 

Laine and Zane both found their forever partners in the middle of this huge battle.

I don’t think that is a coincidence, I just think it’s the hand of the Lord saying YES to added strength and goodness in someone’s life.

Laine managed to work a job, apply for PT school, date her now husband (and marry him), and fight for her brother in prayer and watch him be healed.

a lot can happen in a year.

I’ll say it again…

A lot can happen in a year.

I wrote my last post on April 18th, 2016, since then,

She was accepted into University of Alabama at Birmingham for their Doctorate of PT school.

Her brother finished his chemo treatments.

She got engaged.

She got married.

She moved to Birmingham and is now swimming in the pool of school for the next 3 years.

I am telling you…

a lot can happen in a year.

But if I have learned anything from witnessing this friend do all the crazy roller coaster of life I have learned this:

Nothing is too hard to do if it’s what you’ve always dreamed of … if it’s what you were always meant to do.

Laine dreamed of being a PT… and she will be one in 3 years.

Laine has always desired a family and a home, and she has that today.

Laine has always desired closeness to the Lord, and He drew her closer to Him by teaching her to talk to Him in a new way.

Laine shares:

“I feel strong enough in my faith now to be outspoken but also tactful and creative in how I minister to those around me.  And I really can be that light anywhere.  Whether that is a Christian or Public University.”

God readied her heart for a miracle.

God readied her heart for marriage.

God readied her heart for school at a public University.

Because a lot can happen in a year.

A year can do a lot of things for people.

It can encourage them or it can deplete them.

But for this friend of mine, a year only gave her promotion in the Kingdom to move forward into what she’s always been created to do.

In 30 days of wishful doing I am looking at all the people that will let me peek in a little deeper into their lives and learn about what they are DOING.

How they got there.

What they have learned.

What they know.

Because in just a short amount of time, this sweet friend has caught the dream and the vision she always had for herself and is thriving.

It wasn’t easy.

But it was so incredibly good.

What a year can do is simply draw out the best of YOU!


Day 10: Love the Unexpected.

I never expected to meet my husband in  4th period english class my junior year of high school.

But I did.

I married him a week and a day after the two of us graduated from college.

3 years ago today.

It was a really rainy day.

In fact it was insane rain.

The kind that would lead you to turn on your flashers if you were driving in it.

But all of the sudden, the rain stopped.

The sun shined.

Our planned outdoor wedding would happen just the way we had hoped.

We weren’t expecting that.

I love looking back on this day that made us one forever, just a short three years ago.

I look back and smile at the memory of the day we planned from start to finish.

I loved our wedding.

I loved our moments.

I loved that God cleared the skies and gave us sunshine.

I love that I had the flowers I picked and the perfect songs playing.

I love that I had sweet friends and family surrounding me.

But today as I reflect the anniversary of our “I do”, I realize that our marriage has been full of the most unexpected things.

We married each other, which means we married each others EVERYTHING.

We walked through crippling debt.

Yes, we were “poor newly weds”

To any the people who said, “We will live on love” that is very sweet, but please, for the sake of the loved one you are speaking this over, do not glamorize that life. Consider rephrasing your story to tell about how the two of you actually survived because you fought for the best, because you fought for the future of your marriage and potential family. 

You fought for it together.

and in that fighting for the good you found the more of Jesus.

We weren’t expecting that.

I suffered from pretty intense anxiety.

And showed little to no sign of it until the honeymoon was over.

I am sure my husband wasn’t expecting that.

But he partnered with me.

He listened to my anxious thoughts.

He prayed for me and with me.

He fought for my heart and still does.

every. single. day.

In experiencing a kind husband in the midst of painful anxiety, I learned the power of knowing who you are and living confidently in that.

I wasn’t expecting that.

We decided to open two businesses together.

He opened one on his own.

They were all scary.

We weren’t expecting that.

We were expecting to be safe.

But we wouldn’t be us if we played it safe and expected.

Cody Bell dives. very. very. deep.

and he is never scared. never y’all. never. 

And in that, He has taught me the power of knowing the Lord deeper and trusting Him with all of myself.

Trusting Him in a way I never knew existed.

I wasn’t expecting that.

We moved 4 (almost 5) times in three years.

All while living in the same city.

We weren’t expecting that.

We didn’t know that in that moving the Lord would pay off all our debt.

But He did.

We learned to love Him more in the moving.

We weren’t expecting that.

We have flipped one house and are working on our third.

We traveled to Texas and went to coffee school.

We learned how to cut back on living expenses.

We learned how to pray and ask God for favor and blessing when mountains were too big for us to move.

We learned how to communicate with people well above our status.

We have learned the art of hard work. It pretty much just looks like hard work and working jobs nobody else is willing to work.

I never expected that life beyond my wedding day would be so brilliantly challenging and miraculous.

I never expected to marry the boy who walked into my 11th grade english class.

To all my friends reading this, married, engaged, or single, I hope you see the power of the unexpected.

May your unexpected give you vision to see beyond.

Where you struggle to find a job but look at it as an opportunity to work a little harder than those who had that easy.

Where it is okay to “not be okay” and seeking out help is healthy and powerful.

Where you will make choices that may make you look dumb, but more than likely you’ll be the one helping someone else have confidence in their dreams.

Where money is tight but the Lord teaches you how to steward your money well to leave inheritance for your children’s children.

Where you might have great success with your goals, and you get to help others achieve those same successes.

May your days be filled with the unexpected.

The kind of surprises that stun you and make your life all the more worth living.

Day 10: love the unexpected.

To my Dearest Cody-Love,

I have never in all my life known a person with so much humble strength. Your mercy astounds me with how you love the people in your life with intentional kindness and love.  You never ask for anything out of others, only what you can sacrifice. You teach me more about the heart of Jesus in your waking and your sleeping. In three years of knowing and loving you as your wife, I have learned more about the power than comes when a man loves the Lord and loves his wife. I love that I get to be the woman who receives that love consistently. You are my closest companion and the greatest friend I have ever had. I’ll never know how I got so lucky to be your girl.

Happy Anniversary to you, my love.

3 years of the most insane ride.

I hate rollercoasters.

So, thank God this one takes us only to the good heights.

I’ll love you forever.

Day 9: Refinishing what’s been covered.

Last Wednesday, my sweet Cody Bell and I closed on a little duplex in Montgomery.

It’s a simple little place, one side for us, another side for a renter.

We spotted it one day while we were visiting friends, so of course we peeked inside.

We saw a fixer.

A place with good bones, but need for quite a few cosmetic repairs.

Nothing the Bell’s can’t handle.

It’s an old place.

Built in 1946.

Purchased in 1955 by a sweet little family… and we are the second buyers since 1955.

Behind the house is a shed where we have found dozens of newspapers from WW II and others dating back all the way to 1917.

We purchased the house from two cousins who inherited this estate from their grandparents.

They are older, I assume their early 70s and full of stories behind this little gem.

In fact, one of them got a little teary eyed in the closing because of all the memories she had with her family in this place.

It gave us such a sense of honor being entrusted with someone’s family home. 

I won’t lie, when we walked back in their after the closing, and the smell of moth balls engulfed my nose from the carpet that had remained one decade too many, I wondered how in the world this place was ever beautiful after being tainted by “modern trends” that flooded through the 60s,70s,80s, and 90s.

But just when I thought we were going to have a whole lot more work to do, we peeled back those carpets to begin.

That nasty, rotted, smelly, carpet.

And there, laying below all that terrible, smelly, carpet was hard wood floors.

Original hardwoods.


Perfect, just needed a little refinishing.

They had been covered and hidden away for all these years.

All it took was two crazy 20-something-year-olds to take a chance and peel back the layer of filth to find the treasure underneath.

I think remodeling does something to you.

Mentally and Physically.

Physical exhaustion from doing the work and cranking it all out knowing the faster you get it done the faster you get to enjoy it.

Mental exhaustion for the feeling of no release from always having to schedule your life around “construction.”

But I love what this work does for my heart.

Showing me every single time that there is always something beautiful to be found when we take the time to uncover the mess and get to the bottom of it all.

It even teaches me a little more about my own heart, where it has covered up beautiful things with lies and mess and all it needs is some fresh perspective to awaken it back to life.

In 30 days of wishful doing we are remodeling ANOTHER house, and refinishing what’s been covered all these years.

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates of what we do the place along the way!