Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bye, 2014.

Happy New Year.

Or whatever. I know January is over, but I still hope you have a Happy New Year. My slow processing brain is still trying to file away all the lessons of 2014 in my little brain Rolodex. Still. But 2015 is here! 2015 is one of those years I never thought would come, just because it always seemed so far away. When I was in the 2nd grade, my class all signed a t-shirt with "Class of 07" on the back. I remember thinking how far away 2007 felt. The journey from 2nd grade to 8th grade was a blur and I don't even remember 2007 anymore (except for Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry.). But then it was 2015. My expected college graduation year. 

May 16, 2015. It's fast approaching. It's going to be crazy. 

So that's how I'm dealing with 2015. It comes in waves. I'm either so excited or so weirded out by the situation that I forget what is happening. But then I start doing stuff like looking at potential Master's of Social Work programs and buying Lisa Frank coloring books at Walgreen's. And yes, those happened in the same day. So I would say I'm handling it very well.

I am taking the new year one day at a time. Which is why it is now February 5th (Happy Birthday, Dad) and I haven't really had the time to blog like I planned. Or to read books or play the piano like I planned. I have actually done nothing like I planned. God is funny. He will probably never stop showing me that, because I am a doofus.

#2015trinkets // Trinkets of 2015 (photo credit: Ashley Pyeatt)

So here it is. 2015. Once month down and eleven more to go. I'm taking this year to focus on you guys. I want to dedicate much less of my life to myself and more of it to serving and loving on the people God has placed in my life this season. I want to hear your stories, I want to sit with you and learn about you. I want to serve alongside you and serve you. I want to have people over for dinner, go get ice cream, and also go get corn dogs. Man, I love a good Sonic run. I also want to pray for you. So let me know how I can be praying for you, friends. Let's do 2015, together. 

Demi and Joe couldn't have said it better.  So why not open up that door? It's what we came here for. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Advent & Focus

Happy December, friends. It's my favorite time of year. The Christmas Story is my favorite passage for a few reasons. It was the first passage of scripture I ever memorized. Kindergarten. New Life Christian Academy. Montgomery, Alabama. Luke 2:1-20. Every year I get to remember how five-year old me felt about the Christmas Story. I was overwhelmed by memorizing a whole twenty verses. I was curious. I was excited. I wanted to know stuff. You know? Just exactly how many animals were there? What do frankincense and myrrh smell like? I mean, sometimes I really wonder just how beautiful Mary was? She's the earthly mother of Jesus. I know she was absolutely stunning. Think about that.
Advent season is fun because I go to church and hear sermons on my favorite thing for a few weeks. Such a wonderful time, everything is wonderful. Everyone is happier.  But it's not just that. It never fails, every year I learn something different from the Christmas story. Last year, God reminded me just how glorious he really is. When the angels appear to the shepherds, the glory of The Lord shines around them. I make a feeble attempt to imagine what the glory of The Lord looked like to them and I am speechless. This year, I think Advent is going to be a challenging, reassuring time.

Every so often it is imperative that someone remind me what's going on. Sometimes I get confused. I get confused about where my life is going, where I am supposed to be, and especially what on Earth I am supposed to do. Or worse, I start working on my own agenda. I get cocky and I think I know best. For instance, Thanksgiving Break was great, but by Saturday I was absolutely lost and completely confused about what I needed to do to not fail all my classes. It's like I had forgotten how to actually study, write papers, and complete assignments. But luckily, there's a cure for that. Jesus. And there's nothing like Advent to refocus.

Focus. The entire Christmas story has one main focus. Jesus. The shepherds. The angels. The wise men. Even the animals gathered around to see (or at least that's what the illustrations depict). Even the star. One main focus. The most important day in the whole world and everyone had the same focus. To me, the simplicity of the concept that gets me the most. So much happening, but converging on one marvelous thing. It's that simple. My focus should be on The Lord, plain and simple.
Simpler said than done. We live in a world rampant with distractions. Not only is advent a wonderful time to focus on The Lord, but it is a fantastic time to strip away the distractions in life. Let God be your focus this Advent season. Take every opportunity to be still and rest in the wonder and glory of the Christmas story.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" Luke 2:14

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Autumn Affair

One of my favorite things to do is plan parties. I love having people over at my house and I love cooking for people. Parties are typically one of the easiest ways to combine the two. This fall, Ashley and I wanted to host a brunch at our house, but we wanted it to be unique. After some serious Pinterest browsing we came up the theme: lumberjacks and pancakes.

All it took was three boxes of pancake mix and two things of syrup. My sweet friends brought eggs, breakfast casserole, and doughnuts and it was perfect.

You put on a flannel shirt and I guarantee you'll start craving pancakes in no time. Throw in some axe-throwing, coffee, and lots of laughs and I give you : The Autumn Affair.

Family Pictures , take 1,000

I will forever love hosting parties with this girl. 

Friends and Walls

Photo Credit: Taylor Smith

Taylor James trying to talk in an accent with a mouth full of marshmallows. 

I love a living room full of people. 

"Once a princess, always a princess." // Photo Credit : Easton Roye

Photo Credit: Taylor Smith

Our kitchen is my favorite room in the house.  
Friends who brunch together, stay together. 

We probably ran the dishwasher three times that morning, not to mention people were washing dishes for us. But it was worth it. My day was instantly made to see people walk into my house wearing flannels and wielding axes (which were immediately put in the backyard because boys are boisterous and clumsy). I am so thankful and immensely blessed to call these people my friends and to live alongside them.

This morning was one for the books. It had friends, pancakes, cozy shirts, and laughter. Pancakes or not, friends, you are always welcome at our house. Don't be strangers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


It's September! Know what this means? Pumpkin everything is back, it's time to start wearing boots again, and somebody is gonna have to wake Green Day up again here in a hot minute.

It's basically October, which means it is almost Thanksgiving. As far as I'm concerned, it might as well be Christmas. Let's skip right to Christmas cookies, Christmas movies, and Christmas music. I will never be tired of Christmas music. I'm already warming my voice up to hit those high notes in All I Want For Christmas. Mariah ain't got nothing on me.

This is semester got off to a crazy start. After Welcome Week, I dove head first into school and work and my internship. All of those things are going well, and I am finally falling into a routine. It took a good long while, but I finally have adjusted to waking up early, cooking dinners, finding time for homework.

So far, I have been doing my best to cherish memories. Senior year is no joke. Every ten seconds I get asked "What are you thinking about doing after graduation?" and every thirty seconds I get a panic attack thinking "Maybe I'll just drop out and own that cupcake shop after all." But after a year (almost) of practicing being "all in", I know how to deal with that mentality. So I get out my journal and I make a gratitude list. I list all the things I'm thankful for, and in doing so I toss anxiety and fear right out the window.  I remember how much I am thankful for my life and how much I am loved. Even just little things like watching kids play Octopus tag on Wednesday nights or meeting social workers who love their jobs.

+Trinkets from August

Springfield Cardinals game for $5 AND I got to hold this sweet little lady.


I love these people. 

You don't know college until you pile into a minivan with 8 other people you only barely know, ride around town putting your name in drawings to win stuff, and eating lunch together. This is what community looks like. 

Notcho Ordinary Taco has my heart. 

Pyeatt always captures my best. 

Sometimes my early bird personality surrenders to the night owl and I stay up late with friends talking about life and longboarding. I can't longboard, so I just talk about what little I know about life. 

When hiking gets rained out, we do the next best thing: Apple picking. 

Apple Picking and movies make us tired. 

Sometimes I am absolutely baffled that I get to do life with such cool people. I didn't think anything could top my Summer of Dreams, but this community of mine comes pretty close. God has wrapped up so many little life lessons in friends, conversations, and experiences I did not ever think to receive. He meets me where I am and He will never let me go. He will also do the same for you, friends.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Open Letter to the Class of 2018

I need you to know something. I'm so glad you are here. I'm so thankful that The Lord has placed you at SBU. I am equally thankful that He has placed it on my heart to write this "Open Letter to the Class of 2018". This was a weird thing to write because I have not met you yet. But God's plan is bigger than mine, so I let Him take the reins. As a senior at SBU, I have had my fair share of college life experiences. I once rocked a tutu for the homecoming parade, I held a position in Student Life as the Servant Leader Connections Chair for Welcome Week, and I worked for a semester in the Call Center. This year I will embark on a few new experiences like living off campus, doing my senior internship, and leading a small group. But one thing is for sure, I do not claim and cannot claim to be an expert. I feel like sometimes I know less about life than I did when I started college. That's not meant to be discouraging, that's just me being honest. I will tell you this much, when you get to SBU this week you will be met with challenges like you will not believe. For many of you, it may be your first time away from your family for any extended period of time. And no, summer camp and mission trips don't count. But maybe that's not a challenge for you, maybe you don't mind the distance. Perhaps your challenge will be paying attention in classes that don't interest you. Perhaps you will struggle most with the freedom of staying up as late as you want, whenever you want, and no one can tell you to go to sleep. That's okay. 

Whatever your struggle might be, I want you to remember this: you only get to be a freshman in college one time. I know that sounds a lot like YOLO, and they are just a little bit similar. Track with me here for just a little bit. You will only be a freshman in college one time. ONCE. This transition, from high school to college will happen this one time. You don't want to miss this. You are going to want to look back on your freshman year of college knowing that you were undoubtedly changed, and that you experienced exceptional growth. I confidently believe that this will be true for each of you. 

One thing I learned/am learning, is that college is meant to be a journey. You will never get it. I have not graduated yet, but from what I can tell, there is not a switch that just flips on once you cross the stage. Your transition into college will prepare you for what the rest of your life will be, a journey. It doesn't stop until you're dead. To be successful in this journey does not mean that you have all the best grades, all the best clothes, all the best friends, etc. To be successful on this journey requires you to be honest with yourself about where you are with your relationship with God. Because when you strip away your grades, your friends, and your worldly life all that will be left is you before the throne of God. The best companionship is found in the Lord because unlike sketchy, real life relationships He will never leave you, nor will He forsake you. He knows everything about and He still loves you. He knows every stupid mistake you will ever make, and he still loves you. Doesn't get much better than that. In every aspect of your life, God has orchestrated a masterpiece of a plan. He knows about every opportunity you will ever have, and He knows which ones you'll take and which ones you'll pass up. 

Three years ago, I wish I had known what I know now. I wish I had taken the opportunity to live well in community on campus. Living in the dorms was one of the most amazing experiences of my short life. I wish that when I was a freshman, I would have taken advantage of a few more late night talks, a few more opportunities to do activities with my hall, and I wish I had taken a few more hours to serve and love my RA and girls on my hall. One of my good friends lived on my hall freshman year, and I don't remember sharing any moments with her. Sure, we're friends now, and that's all well and good. If I had been just a little bit braver, maybe I would have gone across the hall and started our friendship story a chapter early. I don't regret dorm living. A new place, a new crowd of people, new friends, new classes, new teachers. I get it. Everything is new. But don't let that stop you. You can only be afraid of change for so long.

Once you get to know me, you'll understand one fundamental thing about the way I live my life. I don't run. Even if someone was chasing me, I think I would try my hand at sarcasm before running away. So when I think back on one of the single most formative moments of my freshman year, it almost seems like a lie. It's SBU Homecoming week 2011, Friday. Probably about 3:15 PM. So far this semester, Homecoming was the only thing I had participated in. The most notable events thus far had been one weird bonfire with my Welcome Week group and a Meyer dance party. It's not that I wasn't having fun, but I had yet to have an experience that took a little bit of courage. At about 3:25 PM the group in the lobby preparing for the bed races realized they needed one more person. Five minutes of internal, mental wrestling and I agreed to be the fourth runner. I took the opportunity to be involved outside of my comfort zone. I don't remember Bed Races at all. I don't remember what place we got, except I am pretty sure it wasn't first...or second...probably not third either. I just cheated and looked at a picture to remember what I was wearing. I remember exactly what I was thinking when though. I was thinking (internally screaming), "Why not?" 

Here's the thing about my bed races moment, it was not the most exciting thing that has happened to me at SBU. It paved the way for some pretty amazing memories. Do I think my life would be different if I had been on the sidelines that year instead on running with the bed? Probably not much. I probably wouldn't even be able to notice the difference. I just probably would have had a different "bed races" experience. Hopefully, freshman year Trinity would have taken a different opportunity to be all in, and say, "Why not?". That moment was the catalyst for a few more moments to come. This journey is far from over. I have to constantly remind myself that my doubts and preconceived notions should not stand in the way of my everyday "Why not?"s. Three years later, and I still have to convince myself that "Why not?" is a good justification for new experiences. I'm glad that when I said "Why not?" to running in the bed races three years ago that I also thought to say "Why not?" to joining a UAC committee, applying for an internship at Freshwater Church, choosing Social Work as my major, and applying for Welcome Week.

I guess what I'm telling you is that you need to be courageous. Courageous comes from the Latin root word cor-, meaning "heart" or "soul". Over time, the definition has become to the equivalent of bravery or fearless. It has also been used to explain the importance of living your life with your whole heart. Live your freshman year of college with your whole heart. Find those deep dark crevices that have never been explored and fill them with grace, love, and Jesus Christ. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, getting C's, and standing in lines in Mellers. Life may be tough, but one thing is for sure : You aren't in this alone. Welcome Week is one of the greatest examples of that. Upperclassmen giving up their final week of summer to make sure that you get settled into life here. You know why? Because someone did it for them. We're a family here, we take care of each other. We walk alongside each other when life gets tough (which it will) and we celebrate together when life is good. College is a crazy mixture of both, and sometimes at the same time. You will find that you are not required to walk this alone. You can't, you are not strong enough, we wouldn't want you to. You have a God who has prepared each day for you and ordered each step of your life. Allow Him to direct you. Trust me, He will put those "Why not?" moments in front of you. 

It is my prayer that in those moments, where you are thinking (or internally screaming) "Why not?", that you would trust God's plan for your life. Especially while you are here, sharing life with us. Welcome home.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

J U L Y + Trinkets

Well this is the part of the summer where I start to lose routine in my day to day life. When school's out, I forget which day of the week it is and I screw up my sleep schedule until I start taking "naps" instead of sleeping a full 8 hours. I've been blessed by this summer and the people I've spent it with.

So far this month I :
-Went on an amazing road trip with my wonderful friends to Nashville. It was such an adventure and still one of my favorite parts of summer. 

-I got my ears pierced. I have been telling myself that I would get my second piercing on my lobes since my 18th birthday. Then I was gonna do it on my 20th. Then just one day when I felt like it. And then finally, my 21st birthday came and went and I couldn't wait any longer. So on the 4th of July, Happy Birthday America!, I got my ears pierced. What hurt the most was how many times I accidentally hit my ears with my hands. Sleeping was horrible, every time I turned over (which was a lot) I hit my ears. I finally got that under control, though. 

- I spent the 4th of July with my friends and my Fairy Godparents. We had homemade ice cream and shot off fireworks in the front yard. It was a wonderful time. 

-I made a million cookies. Not working normal hours in the summer makes for a LOT of introspection time. Apparently, I am most introspective when I am baking cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. 

-I went to camp with some girls from Freshwater and we had a blast. It was so much fun to hang out with those little girls for a few days. We played GaGa ball (look it up), made smores, and did archery. It was amazing, our group memorized over 140 bible verses during the weekend. 12 kids. It was really cool because the campers were studying in James, learning about the impact their reactions can have on those around them. I have been reading James during the month of July, a chapter a week, and it was super neat to watch God reveal himself to me in some of the same lessons our campers were learning. Man, I love summer camp. 

All in all, July has been such a good month. It seems like at least once a week I get to share a meal with my friends (only the dream of my life), hanging out with wonderful people, playing Heads Up. I've been busy, busy, busy working on VBS, Welcome Week, and intern things for the fall. 

+Trinkets from July

Camp selfie: The before. 

Archery, like boss. 

For Aubryn's birthday the girls decorated our bunks. 

Lucky girl got to celebrate her birthday at camp!

Studying hard, trying to memorize as much scripture as possible. 

Our watermelon picking skills are on point. 

Breakfast for dinner and friend hangs at Beka Todd's. 

Daily reminders. 

Spades Night: Sitting in between my two favorite people. 

Happy July! Whoo!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Some friends and I went to Nashville this past weekend. We took a little of Nashville and added a little adventure. Nashville + Adventure = #nashventurin

I love friends that can find adventures anywhere. 

Impromptu stop at Mark Twain National Forest was by far one of the best decisions ever. Such a beautiful place. 

Pomegranate tea was a good way to start the day.  //Etcetera Coffee

Selfies all day. 

I found love at a Nashville farmer's market. // The Peach Truck

Barista Parlor

Straight chillin' 

Local Honey --cool vintage store // Local Honey

There was a small vending machine graveyard on the side of the road, so we went in and took a little picture. It was both scary and exhilarating.  Yay for adventures. 
Vintage store inside a trailer? Yes, please. // Sisters of Nature

More or Mark Twain. 

This trip was everything I could have ever dreamed of. These girls are the best, the city was so good to us, and I haven't laughed that hard in such a long time. I am so thankful for all the adventures this summer.

| If you want to see more of our #nashventurin, look for the hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. | 
HaleyBeka, & Ashley made up the rest of the Nashventurin crew, they're pretty good road trip buddies.