Best Kept Secret

I remember the first night I went to Monday night bible study.

Nervous, feeling a bit like a middle school girl again.

I was new to adulthood, new to the neighborhood, new to married life,

NEW. AT. EVERYTHING.

and not particularly good at it.

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Their kindness and warmth was so inviting,

it was contagious.

When finding a new city or rediscovering the one you’ve always lived in, the most important aspect is a fullness of community, a sense of belonging, and a place to be known.

Some of us drive from across town to sit and gather, others of us walk (which at times makes me feel like I live in 1955, and I am completely content with that) :).

We laugh and cry, discuss cool songs and on occasions eat cookies, but we always meet on Monday at 7:30.IMG_3061 2

They’re a group that has brilliant ideas, odd metaphors so perfectly fitting for life, and an insane love for the same saving grace of heaven.

Fruit comes from the vine you’re feeding from; originality does too.  Isolation stunts growth and creativity and we must never starve ourselves from connection with adventurous thinkers and doers. 

IMG_3065 2We can search high and low for significance, but love’s voice is the only one that gives it for free. 

IMG_3066 2We are different in personality, stature, background, but perfectly molded for fantastic conversation about who God is on a weekly basis and GroupMe convo.

IMG_3068 2I look forward to weekly meetings with these gems.  We meet in living room’s of each other’s homes, discuss life and live un offended by the journey that each is walking.

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IMG_3070 2They’ve taught me trueness of character and importance of community. They’ve walked with me as I have discovered adulthood and nod in agreement and understanding of it’s hardships. 

IMG_3072 2There is no place I would rather be on Monday’s at 7:30, than sitting among women who challenge my heart and encourage my character, women who are bright spots in our city and are fighting to love it more.

These babes, they’re my favorite kind.

The truest treasures of the best kept secret places of heaven.

Did You SAY Happy Father’s Day?

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as the need for a Father’s protection.”

Sigmund Freud.

This past week has been a blast for my family and me.

Our beach trips are the main event that I look forward to every year!

IMG_2891We are the kind that spend hours and hours sitting on the ivory sand, talking and laughing the hardest we have that year.

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We always bring board games and my mom notoriously says something incredibly southern and wildly mispronounced.  This year’s gems were: Baja taco (pronouncing the J) and Kanye West (pronounced Kane West), she also learned the term “on fleek”, making her excited to use with some of her new students this year.

IMG_2828I decided to snap a few pictures of the family on the beach this year.  Nothing fancy or professional, but I wanted to capture all the moments of the Dads on the trip.

My sister, Becca, just had a baby in December, so her hubby was experiencing his first ever Father’s Day.  Todd, my brother in law, is a goof ball and always brings the best energy to the group. He and my sister are rocking this whole “new parent thing”.

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My sister Mary Fran has the SWEETEST two year old on the planet.   Full of energy and life. She’s extremely energetic and talkative.  I love seeing her interact with my brother in law, Chris. They’re identical in features and personality, and we couldn’t ask for anything better than those two in our family.

IMG_2805IMG_2790 IMG_2776Me and Cody Bell enjoyed loving on our niece and nephew, and sleeping in 🙂

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 IMG_2868My Dad claimed that this Father’s Day was his favorite one.

He loves when we are all together, laughing and telling stories.

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Isn’t Todd the best part of this picture? 🙂

I got to thinking, on Father’s Day, as I scrolled through my Instagram account that was FULL of posts bragging on Dad’s… How many people actually woke up, looked at their Father, and SPOKE what their Instagram caption said?

 IMG_2611Are we bragging on Dad’s on Social Media for the likes or for a way to bless them past our initial “Happy Father’s Day” phone call?

IMG_2702I’m wildly guilty of trying think of the best caption, rather than speaking the thoughts I have of my Dad to his face.

Although Father’s Day has passed, maybe take a moment to tell your Dad the thoughts you shared on Social Media.

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Tell him that his presence in your life gave you a sense of security and protection, joy and identity. Thank him for the moments of that he taught you great ways to view life. Thank him, to his face, for the way he fathered you to the greatest degree.

IMG_2968I realized the other day the amount of Social Media posts I made for my dad before he even had social media. I told of all the amazing things about him, but never actually said it TO him!

IMG_3041My sister, Mary Fran, challenged me with this thought while on vacation, and it really struck a chord within me.

This year was different, and I am glad it was.

May we live in the moment with the ones we love, instead of living off likes.

What A Wedding Really Is

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary.

Most couples go on a big trip or have a fancy dinner, and believe me I rejoice for those who get to do that, but, #budgetprobz, we chose something simpler.

Well, I guess I chose something simpler.

Sundays are for after church naps, and while my sweetest hubs was napping I packed us up a picnic and loaded the car with a quilt, cute little plates I snagged at a warehouse sale last week, and two PB&J sandwiches.

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Cody woke up to me blindfolding him with the tie he wore on our wedding day.

I took the long way to where we were going just to try to confused him, it worked. 🙂

And we made it just in time…

to the Oaks Plantation Home, the venue where we wed, AND at 5:30 on the dot, when our wedding would have began. 

We sat down on the quilt that supported our picnic and Cody prayed over us.

Emotions ran so deep in that moment and we recognized the most spectacular thing…

As we sat outside, we remembered the beauty of our wedding day, the prayers that the rain would stop (and it did!!!), the flowers, the music, the friends, the food…

But,

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as we stared into the empty field that was once filled with all of those beautiful things just merely a year ago, we realized that we were all thats left.

Our marriage, our puny little year of marriage, is all that’s left of our wedding.

I work for a wedding planner and watch the wedding planning process from start to finish. I see brides debate over colors, flowers, food, decor, and I remember how stressful it was to make that day the one I had always dreamed of.

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But with weddings comes a marriage.  The wedding is about the marriage, it’s about creating a heavenly bond that the Lord created FOR US.

The wedding is about vowing to fight for the best when it really feels like the worst.

The wedding is about vowing to honor one another’s ideas.

The wedding is about vowing to love one another when money just isn’t in your bank account.

The wedding is about vowing to accept the flaws of the person standing in front of you and love them REGARDLESS of their short comings.

The wedding is about promising to care for your person when they’re sick and can’t get out of the bed.

The wedding is vowing to love your person when they don’t know how to love themselves.

The wedding is about vowing to take on your partner’s family, their traditions, their hearts, and training your own heart to become accustomed to it.

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The wedding is about CELEBRATING the fact that you just made a forever vow before God to love, cherish, respect, honor, laugh, cry, and journey for the rest of your life. 

Because when the day is over, when the flowers are dead, when the chairs are put up, and the pictures are printed, all that you have left is your marriage.

And marriage is hard, it’s challenging, it’s exciting, it’s unending,

and it is the best decision you’ll ever make.

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