Friday, July 30, 2010

7 UPs

Decide to have a good day.
"Today is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

The best way to dress up is to put on a smile.  A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Say nice things and learn to listen.  God gave us two ears and one mouth so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking.
"He who guards his lips guards his soul." Proverbs 13:3
"Gossip betrays confidence; avoid men who talk too much." Proverbs 20:19
"Listen to advice, accept instruction and in the end you will be wise." Proverbs 19:20

Stand up for what you believe in. As the saying goes, stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
"Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good." -Galatians 6:9-10

Look up to the Lord.
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

Reach up for something higher.  Always try to be better today than you were yesterday.
"And why worry about the speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?" Matthew 7:3

Lift up your prayers.
"Do not worry about anything.  Instead pray about everything." Philippians 4:6

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Girls' Trip

With all of our crazy schedules it's REALLY hard to plan a trip, but I am so thankful we were able to get it in before the summer came to an end.  Last year we went to Savannah & Tybee Island & had a blast!  This year we went to Greenville, SC & Helen for a couple days.  We walked around downtown Greenville, did a lot of shopping, painted pottery, swam, & partied at the Hiawasee Fair.
I REALLY love our girl time & cherish the memories we make...I love my mom, sisters, & nieces to death.  There are 10 of us all together, & it makes for a pretty wild time!  It's neat to see how we all have some similarities but are so different for the most part!  Ragan is our sister-in-law (who's really just more of a sister & one of my good friends) that keeps everybody laughing with her witty remarks & sarcastic sense of humor.  It's funny to watch her & mom joke with each other.  Tammie is our laid back, level-headed, calm natured, sweet sister.  She really appreciates family time & pushes for these trips, even when we all think we're too busy. Steph is definitely the fire ball of our group & lives up to bein the typical redhead- I'm glad she's got my back! She's really street smart- knows a lot about a lot, so I always like to hear her advice on things like insurance, mortgages, loans, etc.  And then of course mom- our ROCK.  Mom makes our family go round.  She is seriously the best mother & Grammy I have EVER seen and I feel so beyond super blessed to have her for a mama. I can't wait to have kids just so they get to experience her as a grandmother- cuz she seriously ROCKS.  She has the BEST ideas for these trips & makes them so much fun for all of us.
I love talking to all my sweet sisters.  Sharing funny stories, getting advice, listening to their experiences.  Usually on these trips I show off my sweet kickboxing & dance moves & singing skills, too, and they're all really jealous, yet impressed. ;) haha...
The time with my nieces is priceless.  I loved having the older girls hang with me while I ran on the treadmill & putting them through "Aunt Danielle's Bootcamp!"  And you have not heard anything cuter in your life than the little ones singing 'Three Little Birds' and 'Rain is a Good Thing' (the clean version- "corn makes biscuits").
My favorite part of this trip was painting pottery @ Willow's.  It is going to be SO cool to have those dishes that my family painted for me!  I just picked out the dishes & the colors & they did the rest.  I LOVE how everything turned out & can't WAIT to see the finished product.
Oh yea, & when Ragan peed her pants!  Well that's embarassing....
My least favorite part?  Probably the camel. 
You wouldn't believe how much this scooter came in handy while trying to drag 3 toddlers around a huge fair in 100 degree weather! Grammy made it a fun ride! It was pee-your-pants hysterical watching her zoom all three little girls all over the fair! Hahaha!!
I love girls' trips!! 

The Magnificent Obsession

Yay!!  I'm finally a big girl! I was so excited to go on the women's retreat with the wild women of Hopewell.  I'm about to be 25, but I've only been on youth functions as an adult leader, so this was my first official "woman" thing, and I must say it was truly more than I even expected.  The only word I have to describe it is WOW!  We went to Myrtle Beach for 3 nights & listened to 6 of the best teachers I've ever heard share about embracing the God-filled life.  Our church is mega blessed when it comes to teachers & preachers- those women seriously ROCKED! I laughed a lot, cried a lot (everyone did...guess it's a woman thing), sat on the beach, and fellowshipped with some hilarious, beautiful women of the Lord.  Here are some highlights from the teaching that I brought home with me.

The retreat was taught out of the book The Magnificent Obsession by Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Graham's daughter.  It focused on following the example of Abraham in living a life of obedience and faith. 
The scripture for the week was Ephesians 3:14-19 MSG "My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthn you by his spirit- not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength- that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.  And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love.  Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length!  Plumb the depths! Rise to the heighths! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God."
**Leave Everything Behind**
-You have to leave behind your familiar territory and get out of bondage. 
-God's blessing is NOT the same thing as health, wealth, prosperity, and a problem-free life. 
-God's blessing is His presence! We have to change our mindset about blessings.
-Sometimes we try to compromise with God.  That does not work.
-We have to leave fence-sitting, fear, failure, & fear of failure behind.
-Everything about Abraham stood out: his appearance, dress, relationships, attitude, values, priorities, & his speech.
-Are you more focused on the people around instead of focused on the Lord and what he is doing in your life?
-Do not precede forward on your own thinking.  Wait until you hear from the Lord.
-We have an "I deserve this" and "all about me" attitude.  This type of selfishness puts our family in danger.
-Our God is a God of restoration, NOT condemnation.

**Let Everything Go**
-A sign of spiriual health is an apetite for God's Word.  Pray & seek God in everything.
-Once God reveals, I have to act.
-God allows us to have problems so we can demonstrate to a watching world how His children respond.
-We pout.  People are watching.  Is our attitude Godly?
-If you're not surrendering to God, you're surrendering to something else.
-You reap what you sow. (Gal 6:7-8)
-By our choices, our prayer life, and reading God's Word, we're either giving our life to God or to Satan.
-With what/whom am I replacing my time I should be spending with the Lord?
-Let go of shallowness, selfishness, & sinfulness.

**Trust Everything Completely While Pursuing Everything Patiently**
-When God calls you to do something, you are accountable to Him.
-Change your perspective- our fears are a reflection of who God is and who we think we are in Him.
-Is giving something up depriving you of something you deserve or freedom from bondage?
-The enemy wants us to get caught up in "what ifs."  That is not God.
-Our God is not the author of confusion.  We have to spend time praying for wisdom & discernment & LISTEN.
-Focus on God for who he IS, not what He can do.
-We have a hard time giving things up to God b/c we like to be in control.
-Impatience leads to disobedience.
-We attempt to manipulate God to fit Him into our timing.

**Lift Everything Up**
-Be CONSISTENT in your prayer time.  Put forth effort in your prayer life.
-Our prayer life needs to be a 2-way conversation.
-We need to serve with a willing heart, not just when it's convenient.
-We were put her to serve, not to be served.
-Prayer= worship. Talking to God. Listening to God. It changes us and everything around us.
-Pray for our heart to be like HIS! Renew your mind daily to be more like Christ.
-How much do we miss because we don't stay in His presence?
-Who sees God in your life that they would want to know Him more?

**Cast Everything Out/Lay Everything Down**
-We make excuses to sin and for our sin.
-God is gracious even to repeat offendors.
-God tests us so WE can see our weaknesses & rely on Him to help overcome them.
-When we are bitter, we are self-centered.  Bitterness comes between us and God.
-Our spiritual nature is in constant battle with our sinful nature. The one we're feeding will win. 
-In EVERYTHING we do we should be worshiping God.
-Do you choose what you are willing to give up to God & what you want to hold on to?
"Any my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." -Phil 4:19

**Pass Everything On**
-We must abide in Him so our overflow will help our children be magnificently obsessed.
-If you're passionate about Christ, you'll be passionate about what He is passionate about...lost souls.
-Who's going to be in Heaven because of me?
-Who will pursue God because I do?
-What is stopping me from sharing the Gospel?
-It's not our job to save anyone...just to represent Christ well.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Striving to be the Proverbs 31 Woman.

10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

rare, precious

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.


12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.


13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

works joyfully

14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

goes the extra mile

15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.


16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

enterprising, prudent with money

17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.


18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

good steward

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

diligent, devoted

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

compassionate, generous

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.


22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.


23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.


24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.


25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.


26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.


27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

manages her home

28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:


29 "Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all."


30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.


31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

~ Proverbs 31:10-31

The first time Jon met my parents...

Texas RoadHouse, 2006.  Haha, look at our chunky faces! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Those who know me well know I change my mind, alot.  Originally I agreed to Jonathan planning the honeymoon as a surprise.  He's never really been able to pull of a surprise so I thought this would be fun! (Not that he's not sweet and thoughtful, because he totally is...but he just gets so excited he can't hold onto anything or keep anything secret long enough for it to be a surprise- it's ridiculously cute!)  It was stressin' him out having to make such a big decision alone and nothing was getting done, so I changed my mind. :)  I started to help.  Hawaii is one of my very favorite places I've been, so I was thinking maybe there, but changed my mind.  I can't handle that long of a flight.  Plus, everything is way overpriced in Hawaii.  Then we decided on a bungalow over the water somewhere, maybe Fiji?...but I changed my mind again.  Who seriously wants to spend half of your honeymoon on the airplane?  FINALLY after talking to my friend Katie & hearing so many great things about St. Lucia from everyone, we decided on that.  No changing our minds!!!  Until....yea, I changed my mind again.  Well, maybe.

One of Jonathan's best friends, Keene, & his wife Jen recommended an awesome travel agent they used for their recent wedding & honeymoon.  This lady knows her stuff! After talking to her we were debating between St. Lucia, Antigua, Jamaica, & Great Exuma (Bahamas).  Jonathan researched for hours and hours- whereas you know me, I was ready to just "pick something."  I mean honestly, any honeymoon vacation at an all-inclusive resort somewhere in the Caribbean with the man of my dreams will be awesome, right? Apparently since The Bachelor was filmed in St. Lucia it's the new "honeymoon hotspot" and the prices have shot up because of the growing popularity of this destination. We decided we can get more for our money at another resort. So, after all of Jonathan's research & the help of the fabulous travel agent, we decided on.....drumroll please....

GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas!!!!!! 
(FOR REAL, NO changing my mind! Already booked it!)
 I love the Bahamas anyway.  I've been on several cruises to the Bahamas and last summer Jonathan & I traveled there with some of my favorite friends.  The beaches are beyond gorgeous and absolutely spoil you. 

The resort we're going to is a brand new Sandals resort (the best!) called Emerald Bay.  It used to be a Four Seasons, so of course it is super nice.  The travel agent described it as 'boutique-style' and 'high-end.'  Guess I'm going to have to leave our American flag bathing suits @ home and try to pretend we're classy! Haha... :)  It has one of the world's top-of-the line spas, which I'm super pumped about! Jonathan & I aren't into drinking or partying, so we're going to make this trip as romantic, relaxing, and pampering as we possibly can!  The coolest part??  We'll have our own BUTLER!!  (P.S. I'm dying to throw in a cheesy joke right here seeing as how my new last name will be Butler, but I'm resisting the temptation!)  Yes, our own butler that will unpack and pack us, have our coffee made every morning, set out towels for us at the beach and pool, pack a cooler, make reservations, just WHATEVER we ask!  It's got 5 killer restaurants, an AWESOME golf course (man, I wish I could play!) & theme nights- fun!  I think I'm most excited that it's only a 2 hour direct flight & the airport is fairly close to the we won't have to go on some long windy ride from the airport to the resort.  I get carsick & motionsickness.  I know that is so lame, but I can't help it, & I appreciate that little detail.

I know Jonathan is relieved to finally have this booked and we're both thrilled about the choice.  I am SO beyond excited about the honeymoon!!  We both really love to travel, and especially love the beach & anything tropical, but this is going to be so extra special.  Jonathan & I decided early on in our relationship we wanted to wait till we were married...
Well, there ya have it...Our honeymoon plans our finalized & official!  I couldn't be ANY happier with our decision....I think it's the PERFECT destination for us. Now I bet everyone will be DYING to read my honeymoon posts when we get back...haha!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cake Tasting Pics...oh what fun!

"And they're off..."
Seriously, our children our probably going to come out bicep first...Look at both of our arms!
We like what we taste! (Well obviously I do anyway...)
I don't really want him to do this...I have my own fork, thanks.
Yea, haha.  Real cute, Jon.
Apparently he thought it was quite funny.  I was thinking "Get it out of your system now, buddy."
I'm showing him the cake is supposed to go IN your mouth & NOT on your face/dress...
Isn't he an angel? Haha
We chose our GORGEOUS cake! Yipee!!

Way excited/sugar rush face!
Sugar-induced coma.
There will be more of these pics later when I book additonal cake tastings. :) Hehe

Blessed...Thankful...An Attitude Adjustment

Feeling truly humbled and blessed today, and thought I should blog about it. :)

I remember when I was little and I was acting bratty about something my parents would tell me I needed an "attitude adjustment." Well, that is exactly what I needed today, and after spending some QT with God (it's amazing what He'll do if we just give Him the opportunity) He dealt with my heart and straightened my tail right up.  Not that I liked it very much...who likes to be corrected??  But I am thankful, and I thought maybe someone else could benefit from what the Lord revealed to me this morning.

God wants us to have an abundant life (John 10:10), and I know it's through mercy and grace that only our Lord & Savior can give that I am so underservingly blessed beyond measure.  I really can't believe that God knows my heart and loves me anyway, but He does. 

It is so easy to focus on what we don't have...things of this world that aren't fulfilling anyway.  Bigger houses, nicer cars, designer clothes and purses, fancy vacations... It's what our society teaches us- to want more, more, more.  Not that it is an excuse or makes it acceptable for us, but I know sometimes I get caught up in materialism.  Today God reminded me that HE is all I need.  No matter the curcumstances, what "things" I have or don't have, or what issues I may be facing... whether in the valley or on the mountaintop, HE is the Lord of my life.  HE is in control, not me (whew, that's a lot easier to say than REALLY trust).  God gives us trials and tribulations so he can be glorified in them, and tells us to count it as pure joy (JOY? okay, that takes some major spiritual maturity & I'm definitely not there yet).  He allows us to experience challenges so we'll learn to depend solely on Him rather than trying to be in control and solve our own problems.  He wants us to grow, and you can't grow if you never struggle.  He uses the pressures and problems in our lives to mold us and shape us just like He did with His son Jesus, who "learned obedience from what he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8).

I think it's hard for us to deal with because many Christians believe that we are supposed to live problem-free lives...After all, Matthew 7:7 tells us to ask, seek, knock, and it will be given. Philippians 4:6 tells us to present our requests to God through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. Psalm 37:4 tells us to delight in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart.

But theWord does not tell us that if we accept Christ we are going to have perfect lives.  The Word tells us we ARE going to have to deal with struggles; pain, loss, death, regret, disease, temptation, disapproval, sin.  Nowhere in the Bible did it tell us that becoming a Christian means we are exempt from these things...The truth is that life is hard. God is more concerned about glorifying Himself than solving my problems. He has a purpose for everything that we go through, and it is all part of the santification process.  Fortunately, our hope and joy comes from the fact that we have a mighty Lord right there during all of this as a "very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1) and that His "grace is sufficient" (2 Cor 12:7-10).  What comfort and peace knowing that?!!

Thank you, Lord, for all of these gentle reminders.  Thank you for directing my path.  Thank you for all of your blessings.  Thank you for loving me.

 In all things, give thanks.
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." -Psalm 100:4

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."  -Psalm 107:1

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thess 5:18

Sunday, July 4, 2010


As of yesterday, we officially have 3 months!!  Yep, just three little months till I get to marry the man of my dreams! Just sayin...