Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Poison Called Insecurity

Insecurity is the root of so much heartache in this world, and although it is a choice to be made rather than a condition to live with, so many girls can't seem to find the fine line between insecurity and over-confidence, both of which are a poison that can be utterly and completely detrimental to so many aspects of their lives.

It's no secret that people who are insecure often over-compensate by either wearing flashy or revealing clothing, being condescending, or allowing themselves to have such a low level of self-respect that they allow their bodies to be used and abused, with no regard for their own worth.

It's so sad to see girls who could be beautiful destroy themselves by wearing too much makeup or dressing immodestly to get attention when in fact, they are only distracting people from their natural beauty that comes from within. Why does this world encourage getting attention through whatever means is easiest? It's gut-wrenching to see someone act out for bad attention, rather than good attention.

Although it's hard to positively respond to difficult (or just plain condescending) people, it's important to remember that if they feel the need to bring you down, it's most likely because of their own insecurity. Remember: Confidence is silent... Insecurities are loud.

It's always heart-breaking to see a girl who has so much to give throw away her own self-worth because she doesn't view her body as the temple the Lord created it to be. Rather it be through self-harm or allowing herself to stay in a physically abusive relationship (or emotional, for that matter), if a girl doesn't value herself, she can't demand the kind of respect she deserves.

I've decided that the fine line between insecurity and over-confidence is like walking a tightrope. It's not always easy. It's a delicate balance. But even though it's hard, the pressure is good for you. It molds you. It shapes you. It also gets easier with practice.

Insecurity hurts you in every aspect of your life. Don't let it consume you.

1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us that "bad company corrupts good character," and although we don't usually think of this in connection to the problem of insecurity, I think it applies because if girls surround themselves with people who are also insecure or with people who constantly tear them down and bring out the worst in them, it makes it almost impossible to dig themselves out of the dark pit of insecurity. When you surround yourself with strong, independent, confident women, it makes you want to be the same way. It's contagious.

Take this challenge with me this week: Actively fight the poison called insecurity by surrounding yourself with people who build you up, make you better, and teach you what it means to love not only others, but yourself for who God made you.

Don't let insecurity ruin the {inner and outer} beauty you were born with.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekend Recap

Another whirlwind of a weekend... Surprise surprise. Seems like that's becoming the norm lately. I definitely don't hate it. 

On Saturday Grayson and I went on a spontaneous canoeing adventure-

Then we went to the Gray Station Fair in Tennessee and had the best time ever-
We played with adorable little animals-

Rode the Ferris Wheel-

Today was my family reunion and I got to see my sweet cousin, Kiley -

And my hilarious uncle Bill -

And I finally hung this beautiful painting of Italy that my cousin Gretchen gave me. I love it! It makes my bathroom feel so much "homier."

Hope ya'll have a happy Monday!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mountains {of stress}

With school starting back and mountains of stress that have been mysteriously hiding under the snuggly blanket of summer revealing themselves once more, I've been thinking a lot about stress and what a person's reaction to stress says about their character.

It's easy to have a good attitude when everything is going your way. When all is right with the world and you aren't in the process of fighting any major "battles," it seems that a positive attitude just comes naturally. However, when stress makes its way to the forefront of your mind and you are consumed with climbing mountains that seem near impossible, how is your attitude then?

A person's attitude during the bad times says far more about their character than their attitude during the good times.

This week, take this challenge with me: don't let your present circumstances affect the way you treat people. The reward far outweighs the convenience of letting your emotions get the best of you.

Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Travel tips from a not-so-professional-world-traveler

Today was my final photo critique for the study abroad trip to Italy I went on this summer, and aside from literally drooling over the food pictures and practically crying over wishing I was still there, it got me to thinking about the things I would go back and change if I could. While it was an awesome trip, anyone's first time abroad teaches them lessons that can only truly been realized in retrospect. So, friends, allow me to share with you travel tips from a not-so-professional-world-traveler:

1. Take fewer, but better and more thought-out pictures. I was so enthralled by the beauty of Europe that I was snapping pictures like a crazy lady. Only when I had to come home and look through close to 8,000 images did I realize that I could only salvage a portion of those, and that if I had just put a little more thought into some of them, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and had the room to take many more pictures.

2. Don't pack anything you can't wear more than one way. It is so important, especially if you're living out of a pack for almost a month, like I was, to think carefully about the few clothes you take with you. The key is to pack versatile, easy-to-wash items that you can pair with different accessories to have several different looks. You should also take things that you can wash in the sink and will dry quickly. Practice packing before the night before you leave, and be sure to leave room for clothes you will purchase along the way!

3. Buy something special for yourself at each place you travel to. I went to Switzerland and did not buy myself one thing. How sad is that? I would love to have just a Christmas ornament or a pair of earrings. Don't get so caught up in the experience that you forget to get something to remember those experiences by once you're home.

4. Buy an international phone plan. I didn't buy one, so I couldn't call home at all. Since I have an iPhone, I was able to iMessage and email when connected to wifi, but sometimes it would have been nice to be able to call and check voicemails. It's expensive, but definitely worth it if you're traveling for any extended period of time.

5. Don't be scared to play it by ear and go with the flow. It's good to have a plan, but if you are so focused on the plan that you miss opportunities, you're cheating yourself out of the experience of a lifetime.

I'm sure there's a million other things, but these are the ones that stood out in my memory the most. Hope this is helpful! Happy Monday ya'll!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Wonders

My last weekend before school starts back was an absolute blast, filled with all my favorite things! This summer went by way too fast.

1. I met Momma for lunch on Friday at Zada Janes (http://zadajanes.com/), one of our favorite places because um... hello... do you see those nachos? They're heavenly and loaded down with grilled zucchini, squash, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, corn, black beans, lettuce, and queso. I'd been wanting to do something special for her before I go back to Boone next weekend, so I got us tickets to see "I Love Lucy" live (http://www.blumenthalarts.org/events/detail/i-love-lucy-live-on-stage) downtown on Thursday (my last night at home before senior year!). She was so surprised!

2. Grayson's friend from high school, Abbey, got married. I LOVE WEDDINGS and this one was honestly one of the prettiest, most Spirit-filled ones I've ever been to. From the whole congregation singing "In Christ Alone" to everyone at the reception holding hands while we blessed the food, it was totally and completely a celebration of their covenant made before God, exactly how it should be. Congratulations Abbey and Matt!

3. Fresh peaches! Every summer, my Momma and I take a day trip to Chesnee, South Carolina, where we meet my family from Greenville, South Carolina for lunch and a trip to Strawberry Hill (http://www.strawberryhillusa.com/) to get fresh peaches. They're the best peaches and we love making peach smoothies for breakfast!

4. This precious aunt of mine. I love my aunt Peggy. In her 70's, she is one of the most hilarious, vivacious, loving women I've ever known. All of my grandmother's sisters have a special place in my heart, each one of them different and wonderful in their own unique way. Being around them makes me wish I had a sister!

5. Birthday cake ice cream. It had big hunks of real cake in it and sprinkles. Just saying... it was awesome.


Our mission team that went to Haiti got back last Thursday, and although of course we were thankful to have them back safely in the United States, it's a bittersweet time because we can't help but think if only we'd had more time there, if only we could have brought someone home with us... the thoughts are never ending... and I know because over a year later, these same thoughts are going through my mind every day.

Last summer, I left my tennis shoes there with a 13 year old girl named Junie. She was very skinny, like most Haitian children and she was responsible for caring for her siblings, which included long, daily walks barefooted to get safe water. She found her way to the compound where we were staying  in Cayes, Jacmel (which is a beautiful, but very poor mountain seaside town) and we became friends instantly. She loved playing with my hair, and was fascinated at how different it was from her own.

Sunday morning, our mission team gave a report of their trip to the congregation. It's so important for our church family to hear first-hand how the money they've so generously given is being put to good use there and it's amazing how hearing about the awesome things God is doing there can tug at your heart strings and make you want to hop on the next flight to Port au Prince. 

My heart did a somersault when I heard that Junie came the first day and asked specifically for me. I have more than remembered her. I have prayed for her frequently, told people about her, looked at these pictures and wondered where she is today or if having my shoes made her long walks any easier.... but the fact that she remembered me is so humbling. It's mindboggling to me to think that thousands of miles away, in a little village where most people don't even speak English, a little girl is thinking about me as much as I'm thinking about her. It was a privilege to serve her, to be friends with her, and to hear her story.

She might never know how much this meant to me, but I do know one thing. As much as I already wanted to go back to Haiti next summer after I graduate, hearing that she asked for me confirmed it. I have to go. I'm called to go. My heart is there. And if I am able to be reunited with her, that will make it that much sweeter.

"Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples."
Psalm 96:3

Friday, August 9, 2013

Burn 'em up

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with the people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Romans 12: 9-21

Friday, August 2, 2013

High 5 For Friday!

1. Spending time with this sweet fella in one of our favorite places-

2. Frostys in Waffle Cones with my Momma.... She is so much fun!

3. My Shabby Chic bedding finally came in the mail-

4. After having my first sewing lesson ever, I fell so in love with it that I went straight to Wal-Mart at 10pm and bought my very own little sewing machine-

5. I found these adorable little sparkly sandals on clearance at Target for $8 {made my day}