Friday, June 28, 2013

A Father to the Fatherless

Maybe your daddy was killed in a tragic car accident, maybe he got cancer and you faithfully stood by his side til he drew his final breath, maybe you grew up with a dad who wasn't very good to your family, or maybe your dad left you like mine did. Either way, it hurts.

Yes, my father (who, as much as the little girl inside of me wants to call him "Daddy" doesn't deserve that title at all) left me. He didn't love me enough to be faithful to my Momma and chose a disgusting, home-wrecking witch over his family. He left a sweet little pig-tailed, blonde haired, blue-eyed two-year-old and a beautiful woman who loved him more than anything for complete and utter trash.

Yes, it's sad. But I've had 19 years to think about this. You can't let your wounds turn you into a person you are not.

As much as it hurts, I have been blessed so much and have had love so abundant, so overwhelming, that it has more than made up for the absence of this father figure in my life. My Momma has been both Momma and Daddy to me - from getting me all dolled up for dances and proms and teaching me how to cook the way a Momma should to bringing me flowers to my dance recitals and teaching me how to play baseball in the backyard the way a little girl's daddy should.

My Paw was also a very strong father figure in my life. His sweet spirit, quiet strength, and ability to make you feel like you were the only thing in the world that mattered to him were qualities that I learned to look for in a future husband.

Losing my Paw to lung cancer two and a half years ago crushed me, because he was my best friend and I felt like I had lost a Daddy twice. One by his choice, one because he couldn't help it. I was fatherless.

But, wait! I am not and have never been fatherless. Just as the story of the man who walked on the beach and thought he had gone through the rough times in his life alone, I realize that all the times I've struggled with feelings of being fatherless the most... Jesus has always been there. I've never been alone.

He's a Father to the fatherless. -Psalm 68:5

I'm not completely to the point where I don't have anger and resentment for my father, but I'm a whole lot closer than I used to be. I realize now that it's truly his loss, and that he's the one who will never know what it's like to have a daughter. Maybe he's sorry, maybe he's not, but none of that really matters because it's Jesus who has claimed me as His own and "sorry" isn't in His vocabulary. The Lord promises to NEVER leave you. NEVER forsake you. He wants good things for His children.

So, if you are feeling alone today, remember that you have a Father who loves you more than anything. You are loved more than you could ever know by Someone who died to know you (Romans 5:8).

"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives [or takes away from us] is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see." -Corrie ten Boom

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A girl can dream, right?

Today I thought I'd share with you what I dream of my house being like one day. I know all of this isn't totally realistic considering the way our economy is looking and how expensive land is in the areas in which I hope to reside (in the mountains of North Carolina, specifically Valle Crucis). But, these are just some ideas I have tucked away that I hope one day to change from dreams to a reality. 

Anyone who knows me knows I am in love with all things Southern. I have wanted a big white house with a wrap around porch for as long as I can remember. I love the gazebo on the corners of this porch, too! 

These are some of the prettiest porches I've ever seen:

I also want a big yard, with a white fence all the way around and a garden in the backyard where I can grow my own fruits and vegetables!

Now... for the inside of the house. I am drawn to rustic, country-chic style because I think it's homey and comforting but there is still a lot of room for you to give it a southern flair that makes it unique to you and your family. These are some of my favorite bedroom ideas:

As a girl with a passion for fashion, I also have a few ideas for the perfect closet. It makes so much sense to have the washer and dryer right there in the closet, that way you can fold or hang them there! 

I love this linen closet because it has pull out drawers and lights! It's practical, yet still looks neat, clean and orderly.

I would love to have a craft room to scrapbook, work on projects, write and even wrap presents in. These are some of my favorites:

Another room that should be made to be a place of peace and comfort is the bathroom. I have always wanted a vintage clawfoot tub!

Laundry room ideas: 

For living rooms, I like light, airy, open spaces that have natural lighting and feel cozy. Here are some of my favorites:

Another kind of southern "tradition" or "custom" if you will that I absolutely adore is a mudroom. These are some of my favorite ideas for how to make this area as cute as can be:

I love the idea of a more industrial type sink in this room because it's so practical to have one. You never know when you're going to need to wash something big.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house, if not the most important. Family's come together around the table and memories are made cooking together. These are some of the prettiest kitchens I have ever seen. I love the incorporation of the country-chic style!


I'm also a firm believer that every kitchen should have a pantry:

 This one is especially wonderful because it's a walk-in pantry with a little window where you can set things on the counter! A woman had to have thought of this!

And, last but not least... the babies rooms. Although this is nowhere in my near future, it's still fun to imagine what my little boy or girl's room could look like one day!

All of these great ideas and many more can be found on my pinterest board called "Home Ideas." Pin straight from here by simply hovering over the picture with your mouse, or check out my boards! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why You Should Be Friends With People Who Aren't Christians

Growing up at a private Christian school, it was very easy for me to only have friends who believe the exact same way that I do. Almost all of us grew up in Church with Godly parents who were trying their best to teach us and help us to learn what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ. And, don't get me wrong, I  cherish that and there's not a doubt in my mind that made me who I am today. The Bible makes it very clear that our friends and who we surround ourselves with are important.

"Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Corinthians 15:33

However, when I went to college, I was thrown into a world much bigger and more diverse than my little school with only 68 people in my graduating class. I was exposed to a thousand different kinds of people, who all believed differently than I do. I do believe that your closest friends should encourage you in the Faith, build you up, and challenge you to grow closer in your walk with the Lord; however, my exposure to different views has changed my heart on the issue of being friends with non-believers.

It is important to have friends that DON'T have the same beliefs and values as yourself.

If you only have Conservative, Republican, Baptist friends:

1- You don't have an opportunity to witness... By being friends with someone who has different views than you do, you are able to show them that not all Christians are the stereotypical close-minded, judgmental, holier-than-thou people that the media tries to make us out to be.

Yes, I have very different views on gay marriage, abortion, and several other moral issues than some of my friends, but that doesn't get in the way of our friendship because we are able to understand that we grew up differently and have encountered life experiences that have molded the way we view things. A nonChristian can be greatly impacted if a Christian doesn't condemn them.

*Please note: if someone with different views does allow your differences to get in the way of your friendship, you just have to recognize that they are at a different place in their life and are not at the level of maturity to form relationships outside of their own worldview. Pray for them. 

2- You aren't able to fully understand the other side of the equation. In order to effectively understand apologetics, you must understand both sides of the argument. Knowing and understanding why they disagree with you will help you have more informed, educated, and effective conversations in the future.

3- You disobey God by not following His command to "love one another." John 15:12 is clear in its command that we are to love each other. Love does not judge. No one sin is greater than another (although this is a very hard concept to wrap our brains around, at times). We are to hate the sin, but love the sinner, and we are all sinners.

When you have the opportunity to be friends with someone who doesn't believe the same things you do and does not know Christ as their personal Savior, show them His love through you.

Outer Banks Ready

Next week I will be at the Outer Banks (for the first time ever!) with my second family, one of those who I am lucky enough to call the love of my life. I'm so lucky to be as close to my boyfriend's family as I am, and I know we're going to have a blast!

I am looking so forward to just get away for a week. I can't wait to lay on the beach with a good book, get some sun, take long walks on the beach at night, get up early and watch the sunrise, build sandcastles, play corn hole, take pictures, and play with 3 of the sweetest pup pups!

Of course, with the Outer Banks, will come other great things too, like great seafood, seeing lighthouses, hopefully seeing the wild horses that area is famous for (fingers crossed) and shopping!

If you have any suggestions for books I should read while I'm there or other fun things to do in the area, please let me know! Comment below!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Faith, Family & Freedom

This weekend I went to the Faith, Family & Freedom event at the zMAX dragway in Concord, NC. This Christian concert event, hosted every year by New Life 91.9, is one of my favorite summer events. Last year, my boyfriend and I went and had a blast, so this year I decided to take my Momma, because I knew it would be something she'd love. This years performers included For King and Country, Plumb, Sanctus Real, Mandisa (my favorite!), and Building 429. Although I was working at the AAA Carolinas Insurance booth, I got to spend a lot of time with my Momma, too. All the performers were awesome and it was just all around a good time.

Events like this remind me how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have the freedom to openly worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is such a blessing to be in a place, surrounded by other Christians, where you can just feel the Spirit moving. Leaving this event after worshiping  through song and an awesome fireworks display, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in the USA and thankful for the men who have died so that we can have the privilege to worship as we choose!

I took my first panorama shot ever using my new iPhone 5:

3-D glasses for fireworks!