July 31, 2013

If Your Clothes Could Talk

It's true…I mean look at the people in Wal-Mart. The people in that place are telling me a whole lot without ever opening their mouths!  But, you are also telling people a lot by what you are wearing. So what message are you sending to others by the way you dress yourself? Are you portraying the confident, smart, beautiful, successful, super fox you are or someone not quite as fabulous? 

The good news is, is it doesn't have to break the bank or take all of your time to put yourself together. I shop at Kohl's and target, where there are lots of sales and coupons, and I am up and out the door in less than 45 minutes in the mornings {:sometimes only 20 minutes:}. 

So here's what you need to know. 

Plan out your outfits the night before. 
This ensures that you match {:sleepy eyes can be deceiving:}, have the right accessories. are ironed {:wrinkles send the message that you didn't take enough time:}, and are out of the door quickly in the mornings.

T-Shirts are still acceptable.
I wear t-shirts all the time, but they are normally a fitted v-neck. They are still very casual but give a more tailored look.

Here's an example: still a t-shirt, but it's fitted with a bit longer sleeve. Fitted, says I am not hiding behind my clothes. I also jazzed it up with a scarf, which brings me to my next point…

Accessorizing tells the rest of the world you care enough about yourself that you did more than just roll out of bed and throw some clothes on. Now thats pretty much all I really do every morning, but thats because I lay out what I am wearing {:with accessories:} the night before.

A scarf, statement necklace, or a perfectly placed belt pulls a look together so much more, even if you are only wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

Pick clothes with embellishment 
When clothes have embellishment on them, you really can throw them on and walk out the door because they are basically already accessorized for you. Take this top for example from NY&Co. 

Because of the stud work on the top of this, it doesn't need much accessorizing. I just threw on my go to bracelets and earrings and was done.

Dresses make it look easy
A well fitted dress always makes you look put together, but the good news is, it's easy. {:Side note: an ill fitted dress looks frumpy:} 
Think about it, when you wear a dress you don't have to think about matching anything else with it except shoes. It's like a one stop shop.

 See wasn't that easy? 4 steps to making sure your clothes are sending the right message to everyone else.

Oh, and be sure to stop back by tomorrow…it's a giveaway!

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Linking Up with: LaurenMarquis; & Shanna

July 30, 2013

The Single Girl Diaries - Breakup Warrior

Ok, let me first clarify that I am not the how-to girl for breaking up. Breakup goddess is certainly not my name, breakup warrior seems to fit better simply because I seem to have traveled this road a few times. Honestly, 90% of those times was because of my own stupidity lack of wisdom. So in a slight effort to help someone else who may be finding themselves at the bottom of their third pint of Ben and Jerry's while watching their 5th Nicholas Sparks movie I have some honest truths. When going through a breakup you need someone who is going to love you enough to be honest with you. So therefore this post isn't just for the single ladies but for everyone, because we all know someone or will know someone who ends up in splitsville {:population: one sleepless, puffy eyed, unshowered mess:}

There is a silver lining. No matter how great, how amazing, how smoking hot he was, you future husband is going to be all that and a bag of chips. One of my wise friends once told me that even in the saddest moments of breaking up she always thought  the coolest thing was that everything she loved about "that guy" was going to be in her future husband. And not just that, but because this great guy wasn't the one, she knew her future husband was going to be MORE than the guy she was currently heartbroken over. Now that is the wisdom of one strong chick in the midst of heartbreak. {:She could appropriately wear the sash bearing the name:Breakup Goddess:}
Just because you trust God doesn't mean you won't experience heart ache. I've learned that people put a ridiculous amount of pressure on Christian couples who are dating. It is like the second you are Facebook official you better start planning your wedding. Certainly not a good idea, but true. Just because you are dating someone and broke up with them does not mean you were outside the will of God when dating them! Maybe, just maybe, God needed you in that relationship to grow one another, to show you areas you personally need growth in, or to teach you something that only that relationship could teach you. So if you were in one of those relationships, stop beating yourself up and start looking for ways you can grow inspite of it. Turn your breakup into a breakthrough. 
Loving Jesus isn't enough. Before you get your religious panties in a bunch, hear me out. Dating solid Christian men does limit the dating pool of decent men from a football field to an ant hill, but it still doesn't mean you can compromise the rest of the qualities you need in a mate. A man who loves Jesus is an absolute must, but you cannot marry a man who loves Jesus but you are completely unattracted to.  There will be someone who has the whole package so stop reliving your ex, he was clearly missing something, or at least your relationship was, or you would still be together. It's natural to reminisce about the good and forget the bad, but remember you are one smoking hot, with- it chick and any guy who dumped you is already not good enough for you. {:Tattoo those words on you if need be:} Moving on.
If the relationship was really that good you would still be in it. Whether you ended it or he did doesn't really matter. It's called a breakup because it's broken {:this is actually the title of a book which I HIGHLY recommend:}. I am the queen of excuses, trust me, but its time you and I accept the reality that it wasn't quite as good as we romanticize it in our heads or else we wouldn't be single at the moment. Resist the urge to try and "fix" your relationship in your head. Most of the time you will never actually get to play out the "fixed" version of your relationship in real life and if you do…it probably won't end up the way you wanted it to anyone. I've been on the second half of that and I'm hear to say that trying to fix it the first time wasn't a good idea….trying to fix it the 5th time had heartbreak written all over it. Two good people don't always equal a good relationship. It's a painful realization, but a necessary one.
Stop putting off or trying to mask the pain. Heartbreak, in my opinion, is by far the worst feelings/emotions I have ever experienced. That gut wrenching pit in your stomach and the overwhelming sadness in your heart is unbearable. Just the thought makes my stomach do summersaults. The thing about heartbreak is that it doesn't go away until you deal with it head on. You can either take it on in one lump sum or you can pay it through installments with interest. I've done both, but I HIGHLY recommend the first over the second. Although it's terribly hard, it's better to face the pain and sadness head-on.  If you need to hit absolute bottom, so what, do it so you can get back on with your life. {:I actually look back on those moments in the lowest places and see how God molded and grew me the most:} Gradually dragging  the pain out, never hitting rock bottom, and never letting yourself separate emotionally from the guy only postpones the day of when you are actually ready to be with someone else.
I know that I have a call on my life and it is going to take a man who is more than just ordinary or a "good guy" to walk out that calling with me. That is my single girl motto so feel free to borrow it and claim it as your own. 
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July 29, 2013

Baggage Claim

Sometimes there are moments in life that you just have to choose to let go. Often, nothing catastrophic happens to make you come to this realization. A lot of times it's just something that has been lingering in your mind for days, weeks, moths, even years that you know you need to let go of and there just comes a day where you decide today is the day to let it all go

What I mean is we all carry around "baggage". Your baggage might be from your childhood hurts, wrong decisions in your past, past relationships, friendships that turned bad, a secret addiction, a lie you've been telling yourself or others, chances are you can probably pinpoint your own baggage pretty easily. What if today you decided to drop your baggage and let it go? What if you forgave your parents for constantly fighting as you were growing up? What if you forgave yourself for all the past mistakes and stopped carrying around the regret? What if you forgave and chose to move on from your past relationships and friendships and stop living in the hurt? What if… 

We visit the land of "what if" often only in our imaginations because it's the land of unknown and it would be too scary to actually go and stay. We get so comfortable and use to carrying around our baggage that we would rather carry the heavy stuff and be burdened by it than let it go. Why? Because it's what we know, it's what we have become comfortable with, and what if letting go of the baggage let's people actually see who we really are in our most vulnerable state? 

There is no 5 step process on letting go and there is no neon blinking sign saying "today is the day" {:however you could consider this as one:}. You just have to love yourself enough to make the choice.

Now for the fun part of letting go. Once you've made the choice to let go, do something on the outside that reflects the change on the inside - redecorate, go shopping for some new clothes or shoes, or start a workout and nutrition program.

 Recently I decided to let go of some bags that I have been carrying for too long, years honestly. I didn't wake up in the middle of the night and realize it was time to let go. I just decided to love myself enough to let go. And, to remind myself of the fact that I let go, I dyed my hair. It seems silly, but now every time I look in the mirror I see an external difference that reminds me of a change that I have chosen to make internally. I love that I have that constant reminder when I look in the mirror every day because often letting go isn't something you do once, rather it is something you have to do every day. 

{: A peek at the new color change:}

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July 26, 2013

Releasing my inner Betty Crocker

I made another homemade meal this week. Yea, yea I know that is not act of heroism because a lot of you do it on a nightly basis.But for me, a meal made that didn't come from a bag or box AND that didn't get made to the lullaby of the fire alarm is a S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and a definite bloggable moment. 
What did I make? Well, I am so glad you asked
Stuffed Shells. I actually decided this would be something I could actually handle on a night after work because the great part is that I could make them up the night before and pop them in the oven when I get home. {:I know Mom, you told me this forever ago, but there are just some things a girls gotta learn herself:} And for the next 40 minutes while I am napping changing clothes and doing something extremely productive it's cooking away.
20 Jumbo Shells
1pkg. Frozen Spinach
15oz Ricotta Cheese with skim milk
1 Egg White
1 cup Skim mozzarella  
1 Italian Seasoning packet
13-14oz Spaghetti Sauce

Preheat oven to 400. Boil and drain the shells as directed on box. While shells are cooking, mix spinach, Italian seasoning, ricotta cheese, egg white, and 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Put a layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a backing dish, spoon mixture into shells and top with remaining mozzarella cheese and spaghetti sauce.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
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July 25, 2013

There's Nothing a Girls Day Can't Fix

There is nothing else like girl time. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the pictures from my girls outing in Winchester with my old college roomies. Catching up over lunch with these beauties and walking downtown made me feel like I was in an episode of Sex & the City.  We had a blast talking away, getting ice cream, and popping in and out of cute little shops. Looking at the pictures from Tuesday makes me heart almost as happy as spending the day with them.

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July 24, 2013

Sometimes I wish my post would title themselves...

Why is it so hard to title post sometimes? There should be a button on the sidebar that says "generate post name." Oh, a girl can dream huh? 
Truth time. When I sat down to write and edit pictures for this wardrobe wednesday post I felt as though I had done a lot better job about getting dressed this past week than I apparently did. Truth is, I only have 3 outfits to show you because I am pretty much soaking up all the no makeup, gym short wearing, sun tan slathering days I have left of summer break. But heres what I do have…
Skirt: Kohls
Tank: H&M
Bracelet: Charlotte Russe
Necklace: Premier

Tank: Kohls
Shorts: Target
Shoes: Kohls
Bracelet: Forever 21
Watch: Fossil
Necklace: Target

Top: Forever 21
Shorts: Target
Wedges: Kohls
Earrings: Target
Bracelet: Charlotte Russe

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Linking Up: StyleElixerBecause Shana Said So; & Wildcard Wednesday

July 23, 2013

The Single Girl Diaries - Are you a girl worth waiting for?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Jacob saw Rachel. Jacob saw Rachel for the first time and wept because he knew that she was the one he wanted to marry. He ended up working 14 years for her father just so he could have her and it says that "it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much."{:ready, all together…1-2-3 AWWWWWWWW:}  This stuff is better than the Notebook.  You can get the whole story in Genesis 29:9-30.

Last week I wrote a post about being marriage material. At the end I asked if you were a girl worth marrying. I put a few questions to ask yourself in there, but thought I would expand on that thought a little here in the first weekly post of The Single Girl Diaries. I mean if you want a Jacob, you have to be a Rachel. {:No not the one from Friends, but don't feel bad my mind went there too. I'll be there for you, like I've been there before, I'll be there for you. . .and you'll be there for me too oops rabbit trail:} 

If you want a Jacob you have to…

Go on with yo' bad self. Thank goodness you can't actually hear me say these words because I clearly need more pigmentation in my skin to have them sound the way they do in my head. Moving on. When  Rachel met Jacob for the first time she was shepherding sheep. Now maybe I am wrong and I didn't go and Google research this but I don't remember another time in the Bible where a female is referred to as a shepherd. To me this means Rachel wasn't laying abounding waiting for a man to do what God had called her to do. She was actively per suing her life's destiny without a man {:and doing as a single woman what was normally considered a man's job didn't intimidate her:} and because of it ended up meating her future husband, Jacob.

Rachels obedience to Gods calling and will for her life led her to her husband. Don't be disillusioned in thinking you cannot per sue what God has for you without a spouse. I have committed to myself that I will not marry someone I see potential in. I will only marry someone who is walking out that potential in their lives; therefore I need to be doing the same or why else would a man like Jacob notice me? It is a two way street ladies.

Have accountability in your life. The moment Rachel realized she and Jacob had feelings for each other  "she ran and told her father." Let's be honest with ourselves, we are women and our emotions and feelings can run wild with us. Most of us in Rachel's position wouldn't be running for help and guidance as soon as we realized the man of our dreams, the man who has everything on "our list" and more, has feelings for us in return. Instead we would dump our sheep off on the next able body and run away with him into the sunset. 

I love that at the moment that Rachel realized there might be potential for a relationship with Jacob she ran and told someone else who would hold her accountable. Someone she knew loved her, had wisdom, and had her absolute best interest at heart. Rachel told her father, but my point isn't that you have to tell your parents but rather that it is a good idea  to surround yourself with wise people, mostly girlfriends, who aren''t afraid to tell you more than what you want to hear. Girlfriends who will ask questions and poke around in your business some, not for the sake of prying but for the sake of helping you to guard and protect your heart. We all know the worst feeling in the world is giving your heart away to someone who was never meant to have it. 

Be patient. Patience should have only four letters and the punishment for speaking this word should be a bar of soap in your mouth for no less than 30 min.  I don't even want to write about this one because I hate it so much! Let's be honest being patient sucks. 

In the Bible it never really comes out and says that Rachel has feelings for Jacob, but for my own purposes I am going to pretend she does. Waiting without any potential prospects for a husband is hard, but knowing who your husband is and having to see him everyday working around your house while knowing you can't be with him -  now thats pure torture. And for 14 years at that!

I am not going to act like I am some awesome single girl who has mastered the art of waiting because its not even close to true. This is definitely the one area I need the most work in. So I will keep my explanation brief on the topic: It's difficult to wait, but more difficult to regret. Don't give up on what you want most for what you want now.

{:This is where my parallel with Rachel stops but I have more so I'll continue:}

Stop being so needy.The girl who needs a husband is the on who isn't prepared for a husband. I haven't been married, but I have been in relationships enough to know that our one day husbands will let us down, our husbands will make us mad, and let's be honest we will probably think about inflicting bodily harm on them at least once in our marriage. If you go into a marriage thinking your husband will make you happy forever, you'll never have another lonely day, and he will never let you down; you are setting yourself up for a huge disappointment because you're wanting him to fill a position that only Jesus can in your life. Jesus is the one who won't just make you happy, but give you a spirit of joy that even in the darkest moments you can grasp on to. Jesus is the one who will never leave your side and make sure you never walk alone.And Jesus is the only one who will never disappoint you. Jesus - not your future husband. If we can get this one right now girls, our marriages will be better and stronger for it because we won't put a burden on our husband of living up to a standard only Jesus can fulfill. 

I could keep going, but I don't want to write about too many things for you to think about that you become overwhelmed with so much you need to transition in your life that you don't apply any of this. You might find one area you need to work on, or you might need to work on them all. Whatever and how many ever it is know that you cannot change this alone. We can willpower through and change these things but doing it out of our own strength will only last a few months. If we choose to change these things through the power of Christ it then revolutionizes the way we live, both in our single season and our coming married season too. 

I'm with you girls in this and I'm praying for you.

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July 22, 2013

Not Quite 21 Anymore Either

So remember how I talked about not being sweet 16 anymore here and how I have to pay more attention to make sure I am dressing appropriately for my age? Well, Saturday night I found out that I am not quite as resilient as I was when I was 21 either. 
When I was college I was a master at not being able to settle down and focus enough to study until midnight. In the wee morning hours is when 90% of my work and studying got done. Then, I would wake up bright and early for class without a sweat. Other nights I had no problem hanging out with friends and dancing to all hours of the night either. Well times are apparently changing because Saturday night I went to a co-workers wedding and danced my little tushy off. I got in around one and had to be up to serve at church at 6:45 Sunday. {:That's awfully late for someone who turns into a pumpkin at 10pm on the dot:} Not only was I painfully tiered at church Sunday morning, but my legs were so sore that after sitting down to go to the bathroom it was almost painful to get back up! What in the world is happening to me?!
{:Excuse the appearance, this was after some intense dancing and swearing my booty off:}

{:This picture has nothing to do with the post except that most of you reading this are 
girls and us girls love looking at wedding pictures. Even if they are of complete strangers.:}
I have also recently learned that the comments or questions that follow the question "how old are you?" are never good. 
On the way to camp I overheard two high school aged girls talking about this woman. They were talking about how old she was and if she was even still alive. The one girl suggested that this old lady must have been born in the 1920s. To which the other girl replied "nu-uh she was born in 1982." WHAT! That is only 4 years older than me! Don't go planning the 30 year olds funeral yet. yeesh.

When I was growing up I always looked way younger than what I was. When I was 20 most people thought I was 16; and at 23 I still got carded for an R movie. Then whileI was at our youth camp some of my cabin girls and I were sitting at a picnic table with one of the camp's staff members. She asked everyone at the table how old they were. After telling her my age she said "Oh my gosh none of yall's leaders have looked their age but you…" and she trailed off. Thank you, everyone else looks like they should be in youth but you, now you look…seasoned.

Just yesterday a sweet woman, who meant nothing personal, came up to me and asked my age. I told her and she said "oh okay well I was going to try and set you up with my co-worker whose 41, but your much too young." UM HELLO! Not only can I  not dress like a 16 year old, hang with the 21 year olds, now I don't even look like the 26 year olds. Ay Caramba! As soon as she left I ran over to some other friends and asked them if I look like I'm in my 30s because this woman clearly thought I was. Of course they said no, but this has been 3 times in the past 2 weeks. This girl is starting to get a complex.
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July 20, 2013

Coming this Tuesday….

So this is simply a post to talk about another post which seems silly, but we're all bloggers here so you'll forgive me. {:I hope:} I've blogged several times on singleness {: hereherehere and a whole lot of other "heres":} but I decided to start a more regular blogging series of sorts called "The Single Girl Diaries. I'll post topics relating to singleness each Tuesday for the next several weeks. Who knows it might even last a little longer than that. If you're interested in blogging along about your single girl journey or have a topic you'd love to read about just shoot me an e-mail. Hope you're as excited about this as I am!

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July 19, 2013

Happy Friday Y'all

Friday: I am so excited you are here! Today I am hanging out with some friends poolside and it looks like this 90+ degree weather will give us a good reason to get wet. 
To the Producers of The Bachelorette: You cannot keep showing me all these dramatic, waterworks scenes "coming up" on the bachelorette and then leave me hanging drama-less week after week. And what is up with the Men Tell All being this week? You always do it when there is only 2 left. Hmmmmm…Dearest Betty Crocker that is Coming out in Me: I don't know where you came from or where you have been hiding the past  26 years, but I am feeling extremely proud of myself. You had me cooking 3 meals in 3 nights AND all without the fire alarm going off once. You even had me doing a desert one night. You can stay around if you like, please. My refrigerator actually has food in it!

 To My Pink Fluffy Floaties: {:aka: my cabin 11 girls from youth camp:} loved our ice cream date and pool party fun Wednesday night. You all just make me smile. 
Dear Awesome Adored Team: I so love working with you all to pull off one incredible weekend for the ladies in our city. And you're faces showing me how excited you are for Adored are quite priceless.
To My Sweet Followers: thanks for caring what this crazy, absent minded, West Virginia girl has to say. You all and your comments make my day.
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July 18, 2013

Sun Stand Still {:Book Review:}

{: Purchase Here:}

Genre: Christian Living

About the Author: Steven Furtick is the Pastor of Elevation Church, in Charolette, NC. Elevation Church is one of the fastest growing churches in the country. 

About the Book: This book is about cultivating audacious faith. The title and premises of the book comes from the story of Joshua when he asks God to make the the "Sun Stand Still" because he needed more time to fight the enemy army in order to take the promise land. Furtick uses the book to encourage the reader to tap into our own audacious faith while prompting and encouraging them to engage in their own Sun Stand Still prayers.

My Thoughts on the Book: This book had me writing out my own Sun Stand Still specific prayer the moment I finished it. I have honestly read that prayer to God and myself everyday since then. The book once again encouraged and challenged my faith and prayer life.  There were so many lines in this book that had me reaching for my phone to tweet a mind blowing quote, but I actually refrained every time except one. 

I am someone who highlights and makes notes and doodles in their books. I actually didn't do that in this book because I knew in the first chapter that it was one that I would be loaning out and recommending to friends a lot. But, if I had, the whole book would be one big highlight mark with words wrapped around the original print on the page. It was one of those kinds of books.

Progress on My Goal: This was the 12th book on my goal of 20 books for the year.

My Next Read: "The Cause Within You" by Matthew Barnett

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July 17, 2013

Not Sweet 16 Anymore

I went shopping at Forever 21 a couple of weeks ago and while I found several things to buy, it dawned on me that some {:okay more like a lot:} of the clothes in there were "too young" for me. Maybe you can relate. I am now at this in between age where I still want to be fashionable and in style, but I don't want to look like I am trying to be 16 again. I have a career, a home, and I don't care to wear shorts that are shorter than the pocket linings in them.There is definitely line. A couple of stores that really help me find that balance are H&M and NY&CO.
This entire outfit is H&M, except the sandals which are from Target. I like it because it brings in the neon trend without being too teeny bopper.

 This tank with silver stud embellishment is from NY&Co. I threw this outfit on for a day of grocery shopping. Very little effort went into thinking about what to wear and it still looked put together - in case I ran into anyone I knew. 
Shoes: Nine West
Bracelet: Forever 21 & Alter'D State
Earrings: NY&CO

The last outfit works for professional dress. It incorporates the polka dot trend through the top, which is from Forever 21, but pairing it with tailored pants makes it age appropriate.
Pants: NY&CO
Wedges: Jennifer Lopez for Kohl's
Earrings: Target
Bracelet: Charlotte Russe

What's your favorite "age appropriate" store? I need to expand my horizons. 

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Linking Up: Style ElixerWildcard Wednesday; & Random Wednesday

July 16, 2013

Thought for the Week

I found this pin on Pinterest the other week and fell in love with it. In high school and college I didn't have a lot of girlfriends; I mostly hung with the boys. They just weren't as mean and easier to get along with. They didn't care what I looked like; they weren't judging me on the fact that I wore the same outfit last Tuesday or that my my nail polish was hot pink and I had on red shorts. {:GASP:} 

In college I roomed with 2 girls in an apartment that made me go slightly crazy. The two were always ticked at each other and fighting so instead of hanging out with them I would walk next door to the guys apartment and spend most of my time there. Yes, my flip flops stuck to the floor as I walked, and yes there were MASSIVE holes in the walls where they were wrestling and one of them got launched through the wall, and of corse I could always count on there being multiple bowls of cereal on the coffee table with curled milk in them. But there wasn't any drama.  

Let's be honest girls can be mean. We aren't always the easiest to get along with. 


What if we each decided to be the girl that was going to change that in our own world. What if instead of judging each other we encouraged one another? What if instead of talking behind our friends back we prayed for them? What if we dared to believe in their future as much as we believed in our own? I don't know what would happen, but what I am sure that of is that our worlds would come under a significant change. As women we are meant to do life together, not separate. We need each other. 

"If ever there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of humankind, it will be a force such as the world has never seen." ~ Mathew Arnold
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July 15, 2013

Giiiiirl, Your Marriage Material

Has anyone ever said this to you? When people say this to me I never know whether my instinct will be to smile or judo chop them in the neck. I mean lets face it, what they are pretty much saying is: "on the outside you look like an awesome catch so what kind of cray cray are you hiding in there that keeps the boys away?"

Ok, maybe that isn't really what they are saying, but thats normally how I take it. Why is it that people always seem to ask you these questions as you are sitting dateless at the 6th wedding of the year? As if you weren't aware enough of your singleness! HELLO! I have also heard this too "Amber, you're next." Yup, thanks. I better be because there seems to be no one else within a 100 mile radius that is still single. OR I also just love to hear: "When is it going to be your turn?" Let's just rub salt in the wound already. I normally want to give people a smart sarcastic answer but usually end up going with a cheesy "from your mouth to Gods ears" answer followed by a fake and awkward giggle.

So the "marriage material" comment isn't the greatest but there are some standards that us christian single women should hold on to as we try and navigate this whole singleness thing.

1~ Keep your focus on God. It seems obvious but Ill be the first to admit that when I am in a relationship it is so easy to get swept up in the whirlwind and spend time with God only while your thanking him for this guy and the new relationship. Or maybe it's not a relationship at all thats pulling you away from God, its the lack of one. I've been in that place too. The place where your faith is so depleted that you will ever find your future husband that you feel like God has forgotten about you while giving everyone else around you their happily ever after. {:Truth be told, I am probably typing from this place so trust me I'm talking to myself:} But know that when your faithless God is still faithful because He cannot abandon His faithfulness because it is who He is. {:2 Timothy 2:13:}

2 ~ Keep your heels high and your standards higher. We all probably have been the girl who falls over herself for a guy. Let's just be honest it's not attractive. You are the girl. You are meant to be per sued not to do the per suing. I have learned {:sometimes in the creepiest unattractive way:} that if a guy is interested he will per-sue you. It's like that rule on He's Just Not that into You: If he wants to date you he'll date you {:or something like that:}. That means no asking for guys numbers {:you are allowed to give yours away with discretion:}, no asking guys out on dates, and let's be honest if you have to pay or drive on your first date…don't pass go, do not collect $200 dollars, RUN FOR THE HILLS.  You are looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with, you are allowed to be picky and you should be! And one last point on this {:hopefully this will save someone some heartache:}: Just because he is amazing, doesn't mean he is your Mr. Amazing - use discretion, find someone who compliments you not just looks good on paper.

3 ~ Know your non negotiables and negotiables. I have a card that I keep in my bedroom and on the left hand side of the card I wrote out qualities that are non negotiables for my future husband. The list isn't extensive but it includes things like a spiritual leader, a servant of the House, etc. Then on the right hand side of the card I wrote the negotiables - qualities I would like my husband to posses, but missing one on the list doesn't make him a deal breaker….like being an Alabama football fan. It is ideal but not 100% necessary {:I am totally kidding about that one, it really isn't on my list:} A lot of people have these lists but never write it down. I think writing these things down makes it harder to compromise because when the list is written out it can't be deleted and the lines can't be blurred the way they can when you make a mental list.

4 ~ Make sure you are a woman worth waiting for. We covered how you should wait for the right man, but we have to ask ourselves the question "are we worth waiting for?" Is the guy you wrote down on paper going to give you a second glance or are there some things you need to get straight first. Do you need a husband? If you need a husband, you are not ready for one. Moving on. Are you walking in your calling? Don't wait for prince charming to show up before you decide to chase after the things God has placed on your heart. Your Mr. Right is on the path God has created for you to walk on, if you aren't on that path you might miss him. How are your finances? Now I have never been married but I am told that finances can be a huge burden on a relationship. So during this single season do everything possible to get out of debt and be an asset financially to your future marriage and not a detriment. There are a lot more questions you need to ask yourself but I'll save those for another post.

So the next time you get the "marriage material" comment, before {:or after:} you visualize yourself punching the person in the face, try to let it be a reminder to check yourself and make sure you truly are  all these things.

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July 13, 2013

Breakthrough 2013

As you might have seen in Monday's post, I spent the past 5 days at camp with over 100 of the most amazing teens on the planet. Monday morning 120 of us loaded into one charter bus, three 15 passenger vans, two SUVS, one massive truck, and two cars and rolled down the road 3 hours to Scottsville, VA where Watermarks Camp is located.  What we experienced there was an unmistakable, beautiful movement of God. I have been blessed to go to youth camps in the past with our youth, but I am always blown away by how God works in new and incredible ways each year. No two years are ever the same. 
I'm sure there are words to describe what happened at Breakthrough this year, but I just don't know what they are. Too often I use the words "amazing" and "awesome" to describe what God is doing in the hearts of this generation and it just seems to sell His power short since I use those same words to describe my taco.  
If I had to pick 2 words to describe the theme of this years camp they would be Freedom and Unity
Instead of trying to explain the unexplainable I'll just share some pictures from the week.
These adorable girls were in my van on the way down. These are the faces of champions; they traveled 3 hours in a van with no AC in the hot and humid July heat and never complained! 

Gaga Ball was a game we were all introduced to a camp. You basically put a bunch of people in a pig pen and let them throw the ball at each other from the knees down. I was horrible at it and was usually one of the first 5 people out.

The boys decided to squish one of our seniors, Robby. His face is priceless. Crazy to know this kid is going to be a senior; I've known him since he was probably 7. How has he gotten older and more mature, yet I haven't?

The second night of worship was insane! Everyone expects God to show up on the last night of camp, but God made it known that we cannot possibly put what He wants to do in and through these young people in a box of our limited imagination. 

Wednesday our pastors treated the leaders to lunch and ice cream while the amazing Watermarks camp staff took care of our youth for the day. I am challenged, inspired, and grown by these amazing leaders on a daily basis. {:Disclaimer: we look like we were at camp. Don't judge. We didn't have a shower longer than 3 minutes the entire week:}

Like I said, while we went out the staff at the camp took our youth. They completed an obstacle and ropes course with them, but not before they got drenched in the downpour. The leaders got back to our cabins just before the rain dumped on us and were all nice and dry….I can't say the same for the teens. Soaked doesn't even begin to cover it.

But the rain didn't stop them from having a blast. They turned the skate ramps they have there into slides, played basketball, and just hangout together in the rain. I think they loved this just as much as the activities we did.

Every year we do a team building dance/chant to a popular beat with our cabins. This year we gave the activity a twist. Some of the leaders picked out the 13 chapters from the Bible that make you say "what the heck did I just read?" make you feel awkward, or are just straight up hilarious. Wednesday night the boys preformed their chapters. We heard about women eating their children {:2 Kings 6:}, how we should get those who are homeless and impoverished drunk so they will forget their pain {:Proverbs 31:}, and bears eating children for making fun of Elisha's bald head{:2 Kings 2:23:}. It was so funny. The goal was to get the kids wanting to read their Bibles and it totally worked because we heard them telling their parents they had to read such and such chapter because it was so weird.

My favorite picture from the week.

Thursday night was the girls turn to perform their weird and random Bible chapters. This night we were enlightened on how a woman must cut off her hand if she touch a man's gentiles, if her husband dies she must marry and have babies with his brother {:the bible said it not me-Deuteronomy 25:} and other Bible randomness. These ladies above won the girls competition.

 These are the six fun,awesome, gorgeous girls in my cabin from the week. I don't have a single serious picture of us, so this one is as close as it gets. Love these girls and their hearts. So much freedom and purpose in this picture. It just makes me smile thinking about the unique things God did in and though every single one of them.

My van on the way home. Exhausted, but thankful to have a van with AC on the way home!

I'll leave you with just a small taste of our nights in service. SO thankful to be a part of this week and what God is doing in this generation.  

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