Thursday, June 30, 2011

Project 31 Day 7: Encouragement

Day 7.  Write a blog to encourage another beautiful woman
1 Thessalonians 5:11
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

 When I think about beautiful women in my life I think of several people, but for this post I want to focus on my beautiful sister.  My younger sister, Melissa, and I are two years apart but close as ever.  If you were to know the two of us you would quickly realize that we are complete opposites, but completely related at the same time.  My sister is not only gorgeous on the outside but has a free spirit, a strong will, and a beautiful heart.  Currently she is getting ready to start her final year of college where she is studying social work.  She has a giving spirit and desires to help young women and young adults through her career as a social worker.  She is continuously growing and I notice new changes in her every time I see her.  She is doing amazing in school and is becoming a stronger woman daily.  I am so proud of you!
One thing I adore about my sister is her sense of humor.  Melissa, never lose your sense of humor, continue to crack yourself up, and be goofy.  I love being goofy with my sister.  It is one of my favorite things.  I get very giddy when I know my sister is coming home for a visit and I know that I can be myself when she is around.  She knows me, my flaws and all and yet continues to stand by me.  From a mutual love of Taylor Swift to a connectedness through corny jokes, our friendship and relationship has grown stronger over the years.  I think the world would be a sad place without sisters.  We fight with each other, share secrets that sprouted in childhood, support one another unconditionally, share clothes, laugh together, sing loudly in the car, and have a bond like no other.  Melissa, I am so proud of you.  Continue to shine inside and out.  I admire you and know that God is doing great things in your life.  I can't wait to see you next week for the T-Swizzle concert! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Piper Goes to the Dog Park

Piper had a big adventure on Saturday, her first trip to the dog park.  For all you puppy parents out there you know how important it is to socialize your puppies with other dogs and people.  Piper just finished her series of vaccinations, which means we are able to take her on walks, take her to the park, and do all the fun doggie stuff.  Piper is a wonderful puppy and loves tagging along with us and we are happy to have her join in.  Saturday was sunny and blue skied so we decided to give the dog park a go.  We headed out to the park.  The dog park was divided into two sections, one for dogs under 20 lbs. and one for bigger dogs.  Piper is right on the cusp of 20 lbs., but we decided to start on the smaller side.  There were only a few tiny dogs and none seemed interested in Piper, so we took the jump and walked to the bigger side. 

Oh boy, Piper had an experience, to say the least.  As soon as we got there the dogs rushed her, wanting to play, not aggressively.  If Piper was wearing pants she would have peed them.  She was terrified.  I felt like such a bad dog-mom, but I knew that this was for her own good.  You know sometimes you have to be uncomfortable before you get comfortable.  I imagine this is how it is to drop your child off at school for the first time, with them clinging to your leg and begging you not to let them off the leash, so to speak, but you know that this is a chance for them to grow and that eventually they will thank you.  Needless to say, Piper did not really enjoy her first trip to the dog park, but we are hoping she will learn to love it.  We know she will have to go through the jitters, but will soon be running and playing like the other dogs who so desperately wanted to invite her into their circle.  Here is the story in pictures.
Being rushed

This dog really loved Piper.  Piper did not return the favor (terrified).

"Protect me Daddy"

"How high from the ground can I get?"

Worn out

sleepy babies

"It's good to be home"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hey, Over Here!

Hey lovelies.  Today I have the honor of guest posting over at Megan's blog and today was a fairy tale .  She is doing a great series called Her Story about the inspirational stories of beautiful women from all over.  I am truly blessed to be a part of this series and to share my story about my Granny and how she touched my life.  Anyways, hope you enjoy reading it and that it can encourage you in some way.  Be blessed friends!

Project 31 Day 6: Jaded Beauty

Day 6: Has the world's definition of beauty ever jaded you?
 Every day the world's idea of beauty impacts my idea of beauty.  Women are bombarded on a daily basis with what the world believes is beauty.  Size 2, blonde, blemish and cellulite free, sex kitten, quiet and unheard, the list goes on and on.  I think one of the main ways that the world has jaded my idea of beauty is that beauty is only a physical characteristic.  A woman's beauty is not seen in her confidence or ability to stand up for herself, her independence, or her intelligence.  

Growing up, I was a goody-goody and a little nerdy.  These adjectives are not a part of the world's definition of beauty.  I grew up thinking that I could not be both confident and strong and be beautiful.  I did not see my beauty until I was much older, like in the last couple of years.  I still struggle with trying to fit into the world's narrow keyhole of beauty and often wonder why I even try.  I still have days where I let the world define my beauty.  I don't want to be defined by the world's sense of beauty; I want to be defined by my creator's idea of beauty.  Being a virtuous, faithful, strong woman of the Lord who sees herself as fearfully and wonderfully made.  For I am a masterpiece in the eyes of my Creator, whereas here I might be ordinary or lacking in the beauty department.  I want to be fearless, inspired, healthy, strong, bold, not size 2, sex kitten, unrealistic, and expected.  


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Music to my Ears

Hey everyone and welcome to another installment of Music to my Ears!  I know that I am way late getting on this train but I am falling in love with NeedtoBreathe!  And I just found out that they are opening Taylor Swift's tour, which my sister and I will be attending in two short weeks, eeek!  Anyways, this song encouraged me today, so here you go, Something Beautiful.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Work It Out Girl

With no job and no schoolwork, I've had a lot of time on my hands.  This means I need something to do.  I am the type of person who gets very bored, very easily.  I need to be on the move most of the time, I need something productive to fill my time.  That being said, I have been focusing a lot more on fitness and working out.  I have always loved being active.  I grew up playing sports three seasons out of the year and spent the summers at summer camps and on the go.  Now that I am all grown up there are no more summer camps and I have to be diligent in staying fit.  So, what are my activities of choice you may ask.

I love, love, love step aerobics.  It is a great cardio workout and it also works your mental capacity through choreography.  I go to a step class at least once a week at the YMCA, my favorite is on Tuesday afternoons.  I much prefer going two or three times a week.  Step can be very intimidating for first-timers, but I promise I looked just as goofy my first time and it definitely gets better with practice, so keep at it and you will be doing the most complex choreography soon.  So, if you have access to step aerobics group classes, give it a try you might surprise yourself.   

Now, I am by no means a distance runner.  I can run about 2 miles and that's about as far as I go.  I just love the feeling and the challenge of running.  It is such a mental exercise because your body can always do more than you believe it can, so you have to train your mind to be in accord with the body's capabilities.  There is definitely a lot of self-encouragement going on when I go running.  I try to run outside at least once a week.  I either drag Brandon along or I bring my trusty Ipod.  I'm hoping to get Piper to be my running buddy as soon as she is big enough.  I usually pair running with some toning exercises like an ab workout or muscle toning and of course a nice stretching episode.  My goal (which is a lofty one for me) is to run the Cooper River Bridge 10K in Charleston next year and possibly the Warrior Dash in August.  I really should begin training, haha. 

This one is waaaay out of my comfort zone, but I love it.  In case you aren't familiar with Zumba, it is a high-energy dance workout that features Latin (i.e. salsa, meringue, bachata, etc.), reggaeton (my favorite), hip-hop, belly dancing, and any other kind of dancing you can imagine.  The goal of Zumba is to have a fun experience while burning calories.  I used to go to Zumba on a weekly basis, but then stopped going because I got busy.  I went to my first class in a while today and it was amazing.  There were about 100 people there and the energy was off the chart.  It doesn't matter if you can shake it like Shakira or you move like a white girl (like me).  All that matters is that you let loose, have fun, and get a great workout.  It is freeing as a woman to be able to embrace your sexy side and power as a woman.  I challenge you to try a Zumba class at least once, you might find you have moves you never knew you had.  

Finally, my favorite activity is softball.  I have played softball since I was 8 years old.  I played throughout school and continued with intramurals in college.  Now, I play on a rec league team with some people that I grew up in church with.  We play a game once a week and I absolutely adore it.  Even though it isn't fast-pitch it keeps me in the sport.  There is something about being on the field that makes me feel at home, fulfilled.  It indulges all of my senses.  I love the ping of the bat from a solid hit, the feel of the dirt between my cleats, the smell of the dirt and leather on my palms, the sweat on my brow, the breeze and sun on my cheeks.  It is a feeling I can't explain.  For that hour once a week I am free, I am at home.  Do you have an activity or hobby that gives you this feeling?  I hope you do. 

I love being active and try to make a part of my weekly routine.  Sometimes, working out can become a burden or something that is easily given up.  I try to schedule it into my daily routine as if it is an appointment that I have to go to.  It is one of my self-care activities and I not only benefit physically from it, but mentally, emotionally, and psychologically.  Also, having someone support you and hold you accountable is important as well.  I encourage you to find the workout routine that works for you.  It might be yoga, cardio, lifting weights, dancing, whatever gets you moving.  So, what are some of your favorite fitness activities?  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Daddy's Girl

From the life lessons he has taught to the proper way to shoot a jump shot, 
I have always been a daddy's girl.  

From the yearly trips to Raleigh to cheer on the Pack to stepping up to the plate for a crack of the bat, 
I have always been a daddy's girl. 

From his protective nature and playful side too and his weird songs about God-knows-who,
I have always been a daddy's girl.  

From his patience he practiced as he raised a teenage girl and me in my prom dress as he gave me a twirl, 
I have always been a daddy's girl.

From high school, college, my life in full swing, he watched as Brandon gave me a ring.  
I have always been a daddy's girl.

From walking me down the aisle to my groom to watching my very own family in bloom.  
I have always been a daddy's girl. 
Happy Father's Day Dad!  Thanks for all you do!  I love you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Good Life

I went to eat at Chick-fil-a last night and as I was ordering I hear the customer beside me ask the cashier how he was doing.  The cashier's response caught my ear and caught a cord in my heart.  He said "I'm blessed, so I'm good".  Now, the common response would be the expected "I'm fine", but his response really struck me and I felt convicted.  

This past week has been somewhat stressful and I find myself becoming pessimistic and dwelling on the things I lack.  Does anyone else have moments, days, weeks like this?    I know we all deal with it, but it is our mindset that can determine how we work through it.  By the cashier saying he's blessed, it made me realize that I have been so focused on what I don't have that I forget about how blessed I am.  I think if we could train our minds and actions to answer to automatically filter out the negative thoughts and focus on the blessing, we would have much better days, at least I would.  Easier said than done, right?  It is mindblowing to me how the Lord can use a simple action from a somewhat routine experience to speak to me.  Furthermore, to solidify that God was trying to tell me something I hear the above song on my way home, Good Life by OneRepublic.  I mean this really is the good life, what do I have to complain about?  I love these lyrics, particularly:
I feel like there might be something that I'll miss
I feel like the window closes oh so quick
I'm taking a mental picture of you now
'Cuz hopelessly
The hope is we have so much to feel good about
Thank you Lord for speaking to me through unordinary yet ordinary means and I pray that I would continue to listen to your calling and to seek you through my mindset and actions.  I pray that I would focus on the blessing, so that I may be a blessing to someone else.  Thank you for your steadfast patience with my selfish heart and I pray that You would continue to mold me into the woman You want me to be.    

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Melissa!

Today is Melissa's 22nd birthday, my beautiful sister.  I hope you have a wonderful day filled with sunshine, smiles, laughter, and yummy birthday desserts.  If you were home I would take you out for some birthday fro-yo, but alas you are probably sitting by the beach or lounging poolside.  You are so beautiful inside and out and I love you so much!    


Friday, June 10, 2011

Project 31 Day 5: You Make My Heart Come Alive

Day 5: Write a blog thanking someone who has made your heart come alive.
 Dear Husband,
You are the person that makes my heart come alive.  What a beautiful sentiment to know that my heart is alive, my soul is treasured, and I am loved whole-heartedly.  When I was just a teenager in high school Spanish class you had a way of making me laugh every day with your silly "Christina gum calls" and your unceasingly ability to make me smile.  Even though we did not start dating until two years later, I remember those small moments of joy.  They stick out in my mind and I cannot believe how lucky I am to be married to you.  

I am totally and completely myself and have never had to hide that from you.  I can reveal my heart to you and you take it and make it shine.  Even as my insecurities grip my confidence you have a way of making my heart flutter and feel secure.  You tell me daily that I'm beautiful and I love it when you look at me and say "you're so cute" or "I love it when you do that" even if it is some small nuance that I would never think twice about.  You accept my flaws and love me all the same.  When other couples look at us they can see our love for one another and I hope they see the love in your eyes when you look at me, I always do.  

I never thought I would marry my first boyfriend, first kiss, first love.  God has a funny way of sparing us from things we cannot handle and I know that heartbreak may be one of those things for me.  I know that God placed you into my life knowing that it would be one and done, as they say.  You are in my life to make me feel alive, to experience the joys of life with and to walk beside through the struggles.  I am so thankful for a husband that challenges me daily to grow deeper in faith, that I can walk hand-in-hand to church with, discuss faith with, and build our lives together on the Rock of Jesus.  It is difficult to explain the feelings I have for you and the way you make me feel, but know that you make my heart come alive and I would not imagine anyone more perfect for that job.  I love you with all of my heart and soul.  
Your Wifey
Wedding photos courtesy of JT Photography

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Project 31 Day 4: Style 31

Day 4.  Style 31.  Post a pic of you in your favorite outfit.

Well folks, if you haven't noticed it is Summer time, which means it is about 95 degrees here in NC.  During the summer I live in shorts.  It is way too hot for jeans.  That being said, white shorts are a necessity.  They make everything so clean looking and go with everything.  I also love this shirt because it is very lightweight and has a nice summery feel.  It reminds me of something I would wear on a cruise, if I ever have the opportunity.  Anyways, here you go, this is my favorite outfit (for the moment, it changes all the time).  The best part, every piece was bought on sale!  I love a good deal and rarely shop regular price.   

Shirt from the Limited on clearance

Shorts from American Eagle sale rack

Shoes from Marshall's
S0, what are some of your favorite items of clothing for the summer?

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