I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

This is my most favorite time of year – the Christmas season. Anything seems possible. People often seem friendlier, the music sounds better, lights are brighter, and cookies are just right. Faith in something bigger than ourselves seems more of a reality than an outlandish idea, but I think we are seriously deprived if these things are only true after Thanksgiving. Why can’t we live with the same sense of joy and giving 365 days out of the year? I recently heard someone address a group of people about the Christmas season, and this person said, “I am not going to ask you to do anything difficult like taking all of your gifts to those less fortunate.” It struck me during this speech that isn’t that the complete opposite of what Christ asks of us – HE asks the difficult of us, to sacrifice our comfort out of compassion for others who might not be so fortunate. In fact it is more of a command than a request – if you are to call yourself one who looks like me, then deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow ME (Luke 9:23). If we do this, take the initiative to look like Christ, then we should, in my humble opinion, look and act as though it is Christmas all the time – we should be joyful and giving and confident in the person, power and purpose God has instilled in us who call Him Lord no matter the circumstances.

I am convinced we would be amazed at the results if we just got out of His way and started living like we really believe what we say we believe. I know that I cannot change anyone, but I can change me and pray for God’s power to change me and my attitude. I am sick of being apathetic and doing nothing. I believe it’s time to get off the bench and get in the game and to go big or go home. I tend to be passionate about the things that interest me, and somewhere along the way I have lost part of that. However, that ends now and WE MUST PUT EVERYTHING WE HAVE INTO THIS LIFE. After all, this is the only one we have, and I for one do not want to get to the end and regret not doing something. Failure is not failure if we learn a lesson while we are down and get back up and keep living; failure is falling and staying down. It’s time to get up and move on – a wiser , more joyful, more giving, and more Godly woman than before. You know life is hard and it’s not fair 99.99% of the time, but the people I admire most are those that have risen above the adversity and triumphed.

I don’t mean to sound preachy because this is as much to me to anyone else – I really see this as much of a vent session as a blog that I hope encourages someone else out there. In the hope of encouraging someone, I am including a small sampling of things that bring me joy!

1. My niece and nephew… particularly how my niece gets really excited when she sees me!

2. The way my parents still flirt and date after 30 years of marriage… sometimes it’s a tish awkward but such a great example.

3. My sisters – nobody and I mean nobody can irk one of us worse than one of us but loving them is not an option and I don’t have better friends than them.

4. Christmas lights on a cold night with some Bing Crosby playing in the background! 

5. Green things… Sorry I am not overly eco-friendly but I adore the color green!

6. Music… there is nothing else like it in the world.

7. Doing what God calls you to do and seeing Him work through you – there is no greater feeling in the world.


trees, life, history

So, I have this thing about trees - I love them, and I can't give just one reason for this love of trees.  There are really a great many reasons.  I guess first I should mention that it is just the idea of this amazing creation that is deeply rooted and then defies gravity to shoot into the sky.  Then there is the awesome color - there is something about green that makes me happy and feel alive.  I am sure there is some exact scientific explanation for why green makes me happy, but I simply like to refer to it as one of my happy colors.  The visual person that I am is so very inspired by beautiful and intriguing colors and shapes.  One of the things I love also is that trees are just as beautiful and interesting without the leaves.

I love the lines of the branches and reach of the limbs that seem to stretch out and call out to you. 

Its not just the oak and pine trees, but Christmas trees are one of my favorite things about the Christmas season.  The smell of a real Christmas tree is absolutely amazing - I mean I could just walk up and down the live tree section at Lowe's all day.  It smells like Christmas, and Christmas does not really start to me until the Christmas tree is up and decorated.  

I have always had this thing about trees, and they have always been a big part of my life and what I notice about places I go.  In fact, one of the things that attracted me so much to the house we live in are the Crepe Myrtle trees in the backyard.  Anyways, I am obsessed with trees and history, and it occurred to me the other day that trees are witnesses to history.  There are some beautiful trees around my grandparents' and parents' houses and they have been there at least since my great-grandparents moved to Jones County in the early 1900's.  The trees were there when my great-grandparents built the original home-place and when my grandparents became their neighbors and when my parents built their home.

While working on my master's degree, one of the classes offered was a field experience that took you through some of the oldest places in South Mississippi.  The trees found in Natchez and Vicksburg and everywhere in between were amazingly old and covered in moss.  They  looked so old and beautiful and had been there since the days of the Civil War when the ladies in big ornate dresses lounged underneath the trees during the summer.  The idea of something, anything surviving the years to be around to tell a story of years gone by is wonderful to me. 

If you think about it, trees are a big part of history.  Laurel, the city I call home, was founded on the lumber industry.  Trees were cleared to build the cities in the South, and used to build homes, businesses, etc.  And for those of us who are Christians, there is one tree in particular that is of upmost importance.  As it was a tree that was used to form a cross on which the Savior of the world died so that we might have access to God.  Deeply rooted in love and defying death to stretch out and embrace the world so that all might be saved.


Thanksgiving Dinner

A few things you should know:
1. This past year has been quite difficult - and that is the cleaned up/nice version of what I really think about it!
2. I love the holidays - Thanksgiving and Christmas literally make me giddy like a little girl smiling at the cute boy two rows over!
3. Because of facts expressed in number one I believe that we should take this time to remember our blessings and to celebrate and to make the decision to be happy despite the circumstances!
Now that you know these things, I thought I would share with you some of the things Candace and I are cooking on Thursday!
Now these are not pictures of my actual food... I borrowed them from the wonderful invention known as google images.  I just wanted to give you a visualization as I am a visual person myself! SO short story long, enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Potato Casserole

Banana Pudding

7 Layer Salad

P.S. I found the recipe for Mamaw's banana pudding recipe - she layered the vanilla wafers, bananas, and then poured a homemade custard like substance over it that is other-worldly that it so good.


new home, new job, new me!

So, recently Candace and I moved from our house in Laurel to a house in Ellisville which happens to be attached to a florist owned and operated by two ladies I worked with previously.  Many of you are probably scratching your head wondering why in the world we would want to live in a florist, and please allow me to explain.

Not long ago, I was unemployed and we were struggling - I mean when I say it was hard times I am not exaggerating in the least.  At the point in my life, God had brought me pretty low - lower than I had ever been in my life and lower than I ever want to be again; however, the lessons I learned are priceless to me now.  Amidst the worst times, we had awesome family and friends who helped us without even knowing the extent of our troubles, and we were so very blessed and beyond grateful for these amazing people.  I prayed every night for the opportunity to be on the other side - to be the one who could help others.  During this time, my prayers changed from please let me have  the dream job with the dream paycheck to just let me please have a job that provided money to pay the bills and help people.  To be completely honest, at times it seemed like my prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back.  But I had to hold to the verse in Romans - that says that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance produces character and character ends in hope and this hope does not disappoint.  Honestly, Candace and I have quoted that verse to each other through tears more times than I care to admit.  I had to hold onto the promise that God has a plan and a purpose for everything in our life.

Well, a few months ago a couple of friends of mine that I had worked with at a local florist opened their own florist in Ellisville, and they were thinking of moving to a new space that would allow much more creative freedom and space.  This space was a 3 bedroom/ 2 bath house with much more space than they could possibly use - they called me and asked me if I would like to move in.  The opportunity to move would get us out of our previous neighborhood, would lessen our financial burden as the rent is less than half of what we were paying, and all utilities would be divided in half.  I immediately thought of my prayer.  God had been refining and redefining who I am - no longer was I a teacher who happened to be a teacher but a child of God who was intently searching for His path and plan for me.  Moving into the florist allows us freedom to not be so tied to money.  It is really an amazing feeling. 

Not long after we moved in, I got a part time job at Laurel Christian School helping Candace in the afterschool program -which is another lesson in and of itself.  To truly appreciate this you have know that it is a job which is better than the alternative, second it is in a school system which gets my name in the system and a foot in the door, and third I believe it is part of the plan and evidence of God working in our lives.  The decision to move into the florist may not make sense to anybody else, but it works for us and if it is where God wants me then that is where I want to be.  I have been trying to get away from the florist industry and get a teaching job for a while, but it seems like it is part of the plan for me to be in the florist industry.  So I am embracing it - moving into the florist also provided office space for Always Love - my new project which is a wedding and event planning company that I have started.  I am really excited for everything God has in store for me.


the sun is shining!

Well, I have to post to tell you that I GOT A JOB! Can I tell you that I am so very excited?  I am working part time at Laurel Christian School in the afterschool program.  What, you may ask, is so great about this job?  Well, allow me to enlighten you - it is at a school which gets my name in the system.  You have to start somewhere, right?  It is a job - which is instantly better than the alternative (being unemployed!)  And it seems like the sun is shining on my life right now.  The first week, I met a young woman who needs tutoring - and hello, licensed teacher - I can tutor! I am beyond excited about this!  It seems like doors are opening where previously every door was shut in my face. 

For the past few weeks we in south MS have had some absolutely beautiful weather.  The sun is out, the temperature is cooler, and fall is here.  To be honest, it feels like God is smiling on me just a bit.  There are still struggles, but just feeling like I have been heard and someone is on my side is so reassuring.  During this time, our pastor has been going through the book of Romans on Sundays, and it is in this book that I have found the passage that has kept me going. 

Romans 5:3-5 states, " we exult in tribulation knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance proven character, and character brings about hope.  And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given to us."

At first the idea of rejoicing in tribulation made me think that surely the author had never experienced tribulation before, but after reading and studying the passage with our church, I have learned that we are supposed to experience tribulation.  We are to be like Christ, and we know that He experienced the greatest hardships during His life and death.  The tribulation we experience refines us, makes us stronger, and draws us closer to God as it is during the hard times that we must learn to lean on Him and His understanding.  The past few months, I have been leaning pretty heavily on God as He was my only hope.  There are many people who after coming out of trials, look back and are grateful for the trials.  I must admit I am not at that point completely yet.  I understand that I probably never would have learned the lessons without God allowing me to go through this, but at the same time, I wish I could have had a choice.  With all of that said, I am grateful for the lessons learned and for the fact that I know that I can withstand the trials and tribulations that come in life. 

I have been so encouraged lately, and I finally feel like things are changing.  I hope this encourages you!


only hope

Have you ever heard the phrase, “my only hope is Jesus Christ,” and never really completely understood what it meant? To be perfectly honest, I think I have said this many times without fully grasping the meaning of the words or the concept that one’s only hope is Christ. I know that because we are a broken people, we must have Christ to redeem us. And in that sense He is our only hope. However, I am learning this concept first-hand through an extremely difficult journey. If you keep up with me at all, you know that I just completed a master’s degree at William Carey University, and I want to teach. Well after a few years of being told that is just not going to happen, I am at a crossroads in my life. I have no idea what I am going to do. I am unemployed, and with current economic realities being as they are, my world seems a little hopeless right now. I don’t know what else to do…

Except tie a knot in the rope that is the hope I have in Christ, and hold on! My only hope is that He will open a door. I, in my simple human sight, cannot envision even a window in which an opportunity will present itself. However, I know one thing for certain – that is Christ is my hope, my salvation, and my strength! And He has a plan. I pray that this trial will soon pass because I don’t know how much more I can take. I am so very embarrassed because I feel like I have not done something right or something is wrong with me that no one will give me a chance to teach. I see other people and the way God has blessed them, and I am so very happy for them while at the same time asking when do I just get a break. My dream is not to make tons of money – hello, I want to be a teacher. My dream is to touch some teenagers life, to let them know someone out there in that crazy world cares about them, and that the past is not something to be forgotten but is part of us and helps define us. I don’t understand why I am not teaching right now, and every rejection feels like a very personal “you’re just not good enough.” And it is killing me on the inside. It hurts. And I don’t understand it. But I MUST TRUST THAT THERE IS SOME SORT OF PLAN FOR ME! CHRIST IS MY ONLY HOPE!



Why do you want to be a teacher? The question most often asked when people heard what my major was in college. The pay is not that great when you consider the most well-paid jobs – doctors, lawyers, and sports players – all had to have teachers to teach them how to do their jobs. Many say that having the weekends off and 2 months during the summer is what draws people to the job, but if you consider that many teachers put in 12-18 hour work days and then have duty at sporting events on the weekends for nine months straight, then the two months recovery does not seem quite enough. However, I suspect that a few teachers – those really there because they love the children – would tell you the real reason they wanted to be teachers and the reason they continue to be despite all the politics, drama, and work. It’s the reason I want to be a teacher.

The look.

The look on the face of a child when something inside clicks and they really learn something is the reason I want to teach. For so many students and even some teachers, history is just the rote memorization of names, dates, and facts of people that lived too long ago to really matter. However, it is so much more than that. Understanding that those people were just like you and me and responded exceptionally to extraordinary circumstances makes names, dates, and facts so much more rich. Understanding context can completely change the effects of data gathered, and knowing how our practices today are affected in some form or fashion by history makes it come alive for each one of us. History can be defined as the past events of a period in time or in the live or development of a people, an institution, or a place.

I believe to succeed in this world, there are two vital pieces of information that you must be absolutely sure of. Where you come from and where you are going, and you simply can’t have one without the other. You can’t know where you are going without knowing where you come from. That’s history – where you come from. Your personal history, your family history, your ancestral history, your social history, etc… Where you fit in this world – past, present, and future versions of this world. I just want to be along for the journey of students finding little pieces of their personal histories and future stories.


part one A

So the previous post was titled part one, and I am not currently ready to write part two so we have part one a. Recently I was looking through pictures on Facebook that I posted at least 3 to 4 years ago, and I got really nostalgic and somewhat sad. Most of the people in the pictures I do not get to see that often as we were best friends during that somewhat dramatic and always life-changing time known as college. We spent every weekend together, and most of the days in between were spent with at least one if not 20 members of the group. Now, that we have all finished college and either got married or remain blissfully single and moved off, we don't see one another that often. And of course, the inevitable has happened and we have all changed and hopefully matured past the 20 year old version of ourselves, so when we do see each other it is not quite the same. To those people, I miss you so much sometimes its hard to breathe. To those of you now in college, I pray that you will make the most of every opportunity and be open to all sorts of people and experiences that will come your way. College can be some of the best times of your life, but it is a brief, defined part of your life so be prepared for the inevitable ending when life really begins!

I suppose I should bring attention to the fact that this past Saturday I finished my educational career (so far) and graduated with a Masters of Education from William Carey University. It feels good and yet kind of weird to be finished with this step of my life. I have been in school for the better part of my entire life, and it had become my comfort zone. I am good at school, and I know I can succeed there. However, it is time to grow up and get the adult job and pay the adult bills. It is not as much fun as the movies make it seem to be, and to be honest, I am terrified by this. I have this terrible, illogical fear of failure. I think I sometimes sit on the bench because getting in the game means there is a possibility for failure. I push people away at times because letting them in means I could possibly fail, they would leave and I would be the one with the broken heart. In my head, it makes more sense just not to try because then it means I won't fail. This also means, should I continue down this path, I will never truly succeed at anything and I will never let anyone all the way in. This would be and is a very lonely and unfilled life. AND I am determined not to live like this anymore.
I will not be afraid to live! I will put myself in the game and I will let someone in. I will live a good story so that at the end of my life, I can look back with nostalgia and a little sadness knowing that I left all I had on the table and loved without looking back!
So I must say goodbye to part one of my life, but in turn I say a warm welcome to part two! I pray that Part two becomes even better than part one.


part one

The Big Story
So I finished my bachelor’s degree in social science education in December of 2006, and I was not prepared to begin teaching the first semester out of college. That following March I moved to Hattiesburg with some friends, and I still was not really ready to begin teaching. To be honest, the idea of being tied down to one space and one job for an entire year scared me to death. I have always liked the idea of being able to pick up and go where ever I want to. Recently, this independence has turned into a deep desire to belong somewhere and to someone. To be independent but to have a place in this world with a specific task to complete that somehow makes someone’s world a better place. I don’t think I have been looking for a home – I have one of those and a legacy that I am proud to be a part of.
Home is 332 Franklin Shows Road – my parents home and the house that is located down the hill from Mamaw and Papaw’s home and across the field from Uncle Allen and Aunt Susan’s home. And recently Uncle Herschel and Aunt Sharon have joined the crew. No matter where I move in this world, that little area of the world will always be home to me! My sisters and I, along with several of our cousins, grew up on that hill – it’s one of my favorite places filled with so many incredible stories of fun and laughter and some tears. This place is also part of my legacy – you see it is also the home place for my grandfather. Papaw was born not far from where he and my grandmother, Mamaw, settled and where he still lives today. The other part of that legacy is my Mamaw – Daisy Sharp. The matriarch of the family is one who showed all of how to love through unceasing hospitality, incessant grace, and an ever-strong but kind demeanor. She was the very epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman – right down to an unshakable faith in the Almighty God. This incredible woman loved and cherished her family, and that fact was evident in every aspect of her life. Special events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas meant that upwards of 50 people would fill the family home to enjoy a delicious meal and lots of laughter. Food is also part of this legacy as it was most often the means through which Mamaw’s love was conveyed. There is really no way of knowing just how many people sat her table or ate something from her kitchen. We recently saw Mamaw leave this world and go home, but for me, its almost as if she is still here. I see her in my mother – an incredible woman who like Mamaw is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman and who also shows others love through her hospitality and grace. I see Mamaw in my sister who loves her two children, husband, and family more than life itself. In my two uncles, the sons that Mamaw counted down until the very last day of her life, I see the quiet kindness and strength that comes from doing what you love and doing it well. In my other sister, Candace, I know that the unconditional love for everyone that she possesses came from the woman who loved us all with that unconditional love. Even in my father, who was her son-in-law , I see that incessant grace – which is a perfect example of Mamaw’s love. For even though my father was her son-in-law, she saw him as her son. The five men and women who make up the in-laws were never seen as such – Mamaw said she had ten children. I like to think that we can all see bits and pieces of her in each other, and I pray that one day my husband calls me the same thing that my Papaw called Mamaw – a number 10!
Starting Over
So here I am with an incomparable legacy and a place that will always be home searching for the place to belong, the person to belong to, and the task to complete during my sojourn. I thought I at least knew what the task to complete was; however, four years after graduating with my bachelor’s I am still without a teaching job. I know that part of this is my fault as I didn’t look much that first couple of years. However, the past two years I have really put my heart and soul into finding a job, and it will have to be an act of God, literally, for me to find a teaching job close to home now.
I have been incredibly blessed with a gift for learning and retaining information, and I believe that part of my calling is sharing this with the world. I really don’t mean for this to sound conceited, but to help you understand that this gift is one of the main reasons that I want to teach. What good is having a gift if you don’t use it for good and share it with others. Also my heart is to teach history and all the social sciences to students in a way that makes it come alive for them. I truly believe that only when you know where you come from can you truly know where you are going. Social studies is part of that – all the events in history are simply extraordinary actions of ordinary men and women reacting to extraordinary circumstances. It is incredibly inspiring to me to know that Eleanor Roosevelt was once a normal girl just like me, and Abraham Lincoln failed many times before becoming President.
I believe that God has a plan for our lives; however, if I don’t teach this year I don’t know what my plan is going to include in that area. I believe that I have found a place to belong – Laurel is home. I really love this place. No matter what city I go to, it seems that I can’t wait to come back to Laurel.
I will let you know more as I find out more on this journey!



I have been reading this book by Donald Miller, and he is absolutely brilliant and completely honest – something rarely seen these days. In his book, he is in the process of making a movie, and along this process he learns the importance of having a good story. Miller says that a story is a condensed version of life; therefore, some of the same principles that make a good story will make a good life. The main character must want something and overcome conflict to get whatever it is he or she wants. Miller also points out that many people are not living a good story and that he finds himself often checking out of his current life and living in his daydreams. (This of course is explained much more eloquently and in detail in his book so you really need to check it out!) This checking out and living in daydreams struck a chord within me because I often find myself looking out a window or thinking up some story in my head. This probably sounds really crazy to some of you, but sometimes I find myself not really participating in my own life. And to have a good story you must be an active participant in your own life, and I really want my life to be a good story.
But I have a theory as to why I, and possibly some of you, are not active participants and daydream all day. When we watch a movie or read a good book, we are often transported to a world completely different from our own, and the characters in the movies and books we love often encounter some of the most difficult hardships anyone will face. We love these books and movies, but when it comes to our own lives we shy away from getting out there because it means inevitably you will face tough times in some form or another. If you are really living and participating in the story, then hardships are incredibly difficult to detach from. And we want to avoid the tough stuff at all costs, and that we cannot avoid we want to detach from it as not to incur any pain at all.
I think that is one of my problems – I don’t want to fail and I don’t want to hurt so I have stopped trying at some things and I have tried to detach myself and stop feeling. Loving people who don’t love you or loving those who leave you hurts to the point that sometimes it’s hard to breathe so I have stopped making the effort to let people in and those who are in could be relocated at the smallest slight. Because people can hurt you and leave you, then it’s better to leave or hurt them first so as to spare my heart pain. Can I tell you that this is the loneliest sentiment in the world, and you can’t really live at all in this state much less live a good story. I know from extensive experience. To live a good story and a good life, then you have to feel – the joy and the pain, the love and the loss, and everything in between. It’s going to be difficult and at times you will not be able to breathe; however not to feel is to not live at all.
Another element Miller points to in this living a good story is identifying the Writer – the One who types away at the keyboard or puts pen to paper in your life. For me the Writer is God, and He writes the best story. At times, I don’t listen to the Writer and I go off on my own and do what I want to do. Most often that is to my detriment or disappointment; if I would have followed the Writer, the story would be much better. My personal issue is that I want there to be some sort of neon sign telling me which direction I should go, but the Writer is more apt to appear in a still, small voice or in words from the Bible or from good Christian friends.
At this time, I must tell you that this is a time of great pain for me and my family. My grandmother – the very heart of our entire family is ill with cancer and the evil disease is taking a toll on her body. The thought of her not being in my life breaks my heart and turns my world upside down. I think if I start crying I might not be able to stop. My Mamaw is literally a second mother to me and my sisters. Our parents have to work and make a living, and we spent a great deal of time with our grandparents before and after school and during the summer. Spending time with them instilled in us a love and respect for the role they play in our lives and our family, and they taught us about working hard, doing our best in all that we did, and helping others who could not help themselves. I cannot accurately describe the phenomenal affect my grandparents had on my life and on anyone they come into contact with really. Just to name a few of the things that Mamaw passed onto me is a love of flowers, a sassy attitude, a love to cook for others, the need for our family to be happy, a strong faith in God, and the practice of speaking our mind even if that is unpopular. To the say the least, Mamaw is a pillar in my life and her home a refuge from pain and heartache. She and my mother (her daughter) are my rocks! I love her more than life.
“I’ve heard it said
That people come into your life for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you
I well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend…
Who can say that I have been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed by the better
And because I knew you, I have been changed for good!”
- “For Good” from Wicked


i am back!

So I have not posted a blog in a while, so I thought I might catch you up on the goings-on around our world. First of all, my grandmother, Daisy Sharp, was admitted to the hospital this past Thursday because her sodium levels were low. We also learned that this very possibly is the beginning of the end for her. She is an amazing woman, and I can’t imagine my life without her. She is one of the pillars of our family, and definitely a pillar of strength for us. She has been one of the artists in molding my life and my person into who I am today. Needless to say this has been an extremely difficult past week or so.
To add to that, Candace and I came home Sunday after church and lunch with the parents to find the better part of a tree in our driveway. It was in our driveway because our wonderful neighbors cut it off our ROOF and put a tarp over the holes in the roof. Finally around 10:00 last night Candace goes out to the back porch and falls through one of the boards in the floor! She will have a nasty bruise on her leg for a while. We have been very blessed through all of this, but we are reaching the threshold for “good” news at this time. I know I have no right to complain, but there comes a time when you wonder just how much one can take.
So I have been thinking a little lately…
Sometimes I feel as though I really don’t fit in anywhere. Has anyone out there ever felt anything similar to this? It’s not a good feeling as I have always longed for a place that has a colie-shaped cut out waiting to be filled. There have been times in my life where I felt like I found a place, but these places have always been temporary. Perhaps that is a lesson – that there is not just one place for everyone, but several places that we fill at given times throughout our lives. If that’s case, then it has been a while since I have found the new place where I am to be. I feel as though I have been just floating around – like a butterfly flitting from one flower to the next or like the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years. Please, dear God, don’t let my wandering period last forty years!
I know where I want my place to be. I was reminded of that not so long ago when I took part in the field experience portion of my MS Field Experience class. The main part of this class is to travel to Port Gibson, Natchez, and Vicksburg and everywhere in between to see areas in our state where real history took place. This is one thing that I get excited about, because history can be interesting if you think about the real people and places. History can come alive when it becomes more than just facts and figures and when you put real people and places with those facts and figures. That’s one of the reasons I want to teach – I want to make history interesting!
One of the places we visited was Longwood in Natchez, and it is an unfinished plantation home. The outside was pretty much complete, but the inside was never finished except the basement. The family lived in the 10,000 square foot basement while waiting on the war to end and the house to be completed. It hurt my heart that this house had such potential, and never reached that potential. The plans and the sheer magnitude of this house would have been amazing if it would have been finished. I never want it to be said that I had such potential and never reached my full potential or never did anything with it. I want to accomplish my goals, and I want to reach my potential. I don’t want my heart to hurt due to lack of activity.


be still

Okay so I have this recurring dream – well actually it’s more like two recurring dreams. In these dreams, I am either running from something very scary or running, trying to find someone or something that I love. The feelings are always the same when I wake up from these dreams – winded (big girls don’t run) and either relieved that it was a just a dream (the scary one) or saddened by the fact that I get almost to the person or the thing that I love and wake up. I never get to see a face in either scenario, but in both dreams I am always moving and always running and always searching. Now, I don’t know if these dreams are meant to tell me something; however, I do know that they sort of reflect my life right now… I am currently unemployed as the florist closed which is a long story that no one needs to hear, but I stay busy with my church and taking classes and spending time with my family and friends. I feel that I need to stay busy in order to feel useful and productive. With that said, the recent unemployment is driving me crazy. I don’t like the feeling of not being useful and productive. Which brings me to the real subject of today’s blog.
Psalm 46:10 states, “Cease striving (or be still) and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
I am not so good at being still, but that is what I believe is my mission right now. Can I tell you that scares me to death? I, literally, cannot afford to be still. I must have a job to pay bills and rent or Candace is going to kick me out on the street. (just kidding on the last part… I hope) I have really been praying about this and being the argumentative girl, I have been arguing with God about this. But every single time I go to Him with this concern, there are a few verses which are brought to my attention. The first is the one already mentioned. The second is a passage in Phillipians 4 where Paul says he can do all things through Christ’s strength which based on the context of the passage says that Paul can live with much or little. Also there is Paul’s faith that God will supply all of his needs. The third is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your paths.” That has been one of my favorite passages for a long time as there have been many instances when God’s path has went outside my own understanding.
Let me just say that this fall there is a possibility of a teaching job, but there are months in between now and then. In the past, I would find a job just before the summer intending only to keep it until school starts; however, I would end up using the job as an excuse as to why I didn’t have time to go to the schools and aggressively pursue the teaching jobs. I don’t want to do that again, and I want to trust that God will provide. At the same time, I want to do my part, hold my own. I was taught to be fiercely independent and have been for a really long time. I like to do things for myself, and I am a big advocate for women earning their own money and not being totally dependent on their husbands. Sorry, bit of a jump to my soapbox and not relevant to me as I am single. Suffice to say that this being still thing is going to be incredibly difficult for yours truly.
BUT GOD (another one of those moments) will provide, and I am going to do my best at being still and knowing that He is God. I just want to be sure I am doing what He wants me to do. I will leave you with the first few verses in Psalm 46. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea: Though its water roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. “
Your world may be changing and waters are roaring and mountains quaking, but God is our refuge. A refuge is literally a safe place, a constant, something to hold on to. God is our strength so when you think you can’t hold on anymore, you can because it is His hand holding your up. A very present help in trouble – He is not the one standing back offering moral support, no He is there with his sleeves rolled up in the midst of the dirt, the tears, the fears, the heartbreaks, the worries, through this messed up thing called life with His arms stretched out ready to be your refuge and your strength.


my favorite things!

So I have been thinking that I have been extremely serious in this blog. Not that being serious is a bad thing necessarily; however, I just feel that I need a trip to the positive side where everything is rainbows and ponies and sunflowers! Okay so that was a little bit of velveeta, but you get the idea. Also since I am extremely fond of making lists, I have decided to make a list of my favorite things… enjoy!
BTW, this list is in no other order except the way they came to my slightly ADD and quite often extremely random thought process and in no way reflects the importance of each item! I suppose there should be bullet points instead of numbers, but I am too deep into it to worry about changing it now… I am just saying…
1. I love gerbera daisies… well any kind of daisies to be exact – especially white ones! Not sure if you’re aware of this, but daisies are the friendliest flowers, Meg Ryan says so in You’ve Got Mail!
2. Two words – Audrey Hepburn – she is the greatest actress of all time in my opinion! Two more words – Paul Newman – the man had the most amazing eyes and was an incredible actor.
3. Sunshine – the bright yellow stuff literally makes me smile on the inside!
4. My niece – her name is Madison, and she is the cutest thing ever! She is so smart and so funny – she makes me consider being a mom! (which is a big thing for me as 2 years working in daycare had me seriously considering adoption after the child turned 21)
5. The color green – I am not a tree hugging activist, but the color of grass and trees during the spring time makes me happy. It’s like that scene in the “Secret Garden” when the snow melts, the dreary brown is replaced by vibrant colors of the plants coming back to life!
6. My house – the place of sanctuary and retreat where I don’t have to see people if I so choose. It’s not fancy, but it is mine (and Candace’s but she is pretty cool sometimes)!
7. My family – George, Joyce, Candace, Brit, Jonathan, Madi, Wyatt (yes, ladies and gentleman, my sis and her hubby are introducing the first Stokley/Beaty boy – we have pretty much been a female dominated family until now) Lily (the dog), Mamaw, Papaw, all of my aunts and uncles and cousins (especially those cousins who are more like the brothers we three girls never had). You are all certifiably crazy, but you are my bunch of crazies. I love all of you so much.
8. My friends – all of you are family to me… especially when we can fight like two slightly pudgy girls over the last piece of cheesecake one minute and be completely fine the next. Some people are meant to be ensemble cast members that are in it from beginning to end while others are meant simply for guest appearances, and the core, the group – ya’ll are pretty much stuck with me!
9. God has blessed me a great deal especially when it comes to my church. If you didn’t get it in the last blog, I am not really like everyone else nor do I aspire to be, and that goes as far as my worship as well. I have found the most amazing church family that accepts me for me, encourages me to take off the “I’m-fine-don’t-get-too-close” mask, and expects me to be real no matter what that looks like. Crosspointe Community Church is a laid-back atmosphere that allows you to ask questions, take a closer look at God, people, yourself, and gives you the opportunity to experience life through a new perspective.
10. There can’t be an odd number, therefore there has to be a number 10. After serious reflection and consideration – I must add my Hello Kitty alarm clock, my Breakfast At Tiffany’s movie poster and script, coffee, World War II history, books, music, movies, flowers, soft sheets, the wind from the ocean blowing in my face, olive garden, and musicals even though by definition musicals are when characters randomly burst out into song!
Just so you know, the fact that I am nerd is not lost on me! I simply have adopted Rhett Butler’s final line in Gone With the Wind when I say that “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a (insert proper curse word here) when asked whether or not I care what people think of me. A side note here that is slightly humorous to me is the fact I felt it important to list movies as one of my favorite things when anyone with any sense would gather that little tid bit of information from the movie quote dropped in every other paragraph or so!
Well I hope this little trip that very well could have possibly taken place in a VW van smothered in peace signs makes you smile!


defying gravity

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s games
Too late for second guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap.
It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down…
I’m through accepting limits
Cuz’ someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But til I try I’ll never know
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love – I guess I have lost
It comes at much too high a cost
I’d sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down…
“Defying Gravity” from Wicked
Defying gravity – the concept is simple really. It is making a choice to be exactly who you are called to be and having the hypothetical balls to stick by that choice despite the world and everything in it trying to tear you apart. You see “gravity” is going through life just like everyone else does, not swimming against the stream, going with the flow, and never questioning anything. Well, that is just not me. I went through much of my early life following the leader and being the girl who was more of a wall-flower than a leader. Then something clicked inside of me, and I realized that I was never happy doing that. I was born different, I am not like everyone else, and I could never go back to following – I had to be the leader.
You see when you defy gravity, you become a leader. Everyone else is too scared to get out their comfortable box; therefore, those who do step out of the box stand out in the crowd. That’s who I am called to be – I cannot and will not live by someone else’s rules nor will I look back on the rest of my life and say I did not do everything to live out the calling placed on my life.
I was never really good with limits – my parents never told me I could not accomplish my dreams or be whatever it was I wanted to be that particular day. (As a child I was always changing my mind, and that is something I never really grew out of.) When I wanted to go to college, my parents didn’t say that we didn’t have the money for me to go to college. (We didn’t have the money) They said let’s find a way. When I came home, and told my parents I wanted to be a history teacher, my parents did not tell me that position was typically held by male coaches and that I should consider other options. They said go for it and do your best. I have to tell the truth – I didn’t always do my personal best; however, I had a goal and a dream that I was moving towards. Then life happens, reality sets in, it’s difficult to find a history teacher’s position, and I go back to comparing me and my life to everyone else’s and allowing gravity to take a hold.
Now after some intense soul-searching, I have decided to once again defy gravity. I can’t be like everyone else. I have tried – it’s exhausting, pointless, and futile. At this point in my life, I am not sure I want to be a teacher anymore. You see it seems everyone I know is a teacher, and the rebel inside of me is screaming to do something different because that’s what I do. I am in the process of determining if teaching is really my dream or if it was what “was expected of me.” Here is what I do know:
1. I love social studies – history, government, geography, economics, sociology – (okay so sociology and economics are not exactly my favorite but I admit the nerd that I am loves the others!)
2. I love to teach – the sharing of information to people and it clicking is the most amazing feeling.
3. I find myself integrating some form of social studies into my everyday life – I know I am a nerd!
4. I am very passionate about education and kids getting the best one possible and teachers having the necessary resources to provide that.
5. I hate the fact that education seems to be first on the budget cutting list and first in line when handing out extreme pressure for teachers and students and administrators.
6. The politics and bureaucracy behind the scenes kind of give me mono.
7. However the thought of possibly having the same type of impact on students that my teachers had on me makes me like a giddy teenage girl crushed out on some cute guy.
You see, I want to be there for that girl or guy who is the wall-flower and who is afraid of being different. I want to be that teacher that pulls them out of their shell, gives them the confidence to be who they are, and the tools to figure out who that is. I want to be an educator - I think....



I just have to say I am so tired of winter right now. I am looking forward to sunshine and warmer temperatures, and I have been enjoying the past few days. Today is especially beautiful, but you might not have thought it was going to be if you were awake around 2 a.m. this morning. I do not like bad weather, thunder is not my friend, and I am not particularly fond of lightning. I woke up around 1:45 with all three going on outside my window which is just inches from head. Needless to say I was not a happy Colie. It was short-lived storm though, and I was soon back in bed trying to go back to sleep. And I wake up this morning to see the beginning of a beautiful day. (Or as close to the beginning of the day as I like to see as I am not an early morning person!)

All of this to say that I was reminded that the storms of life, the hard times are much like the thunderstorm last night. Short-lived in comparison to the rest of our lives, slightly scary, and definitely time to make sure all of the important stuff is taken care of. I would like to propose, that though our trials are difficult,and we would much rather not go through them at all, that it is only after the truly horrible storm that we are able to completely appreciate the beautiful day. Another way to think of it is the warm spring temperatures feel like a blessing just for you especially after the artic blast that decided to come south for the winter.

There are things in my life that are unsure and kinda scary right now. For example, MS is in its worst budget cut and teacher cut that it has experienced in years if ever. This is not exactly what you want to hear if you are about to finish a masters degree in social science education (or history teaching!)! I have been trying to be patient and wait for God's time, but can I just tell you that sometimes waiting sucks and is the most difficult thing at times. Somewhere in my make up is this need to contribute - to do my part in this world, and being still goes against everything within me.

BUT GOD has a plan. (My pastor is especially fond of "but God" moments in scripture - moments when it feels like all hope is lost and then God steps onto the scene and takes out the bad guys.)

This is one such moment in this little story. I know somewhere equally deep within my make up that God has a plan and a reason for all of this seemingly crappy circumstances. Also I know that whatever happens is to bring glory to God through my life. This perception is something that taken years for me to grasp because as I said my success equaled teaching and that equaled bringing glory to God. However, my ideas of success have changed and now I see success as my life bringing glory to God through whatever He allows me to do. Also I know that when I do find a teaching job, I will appreciate it so much more after going through this time.

I hope this encourages someone out there going through a slightly scary thunderstorm - storms end, the sun will shine again, and there is hope!



Can I just tell you that I have already failed on this challenge that I have made for myself. I have not been exercising, eating right, or working on a Bible Study consistently. I have been so focused on myself and all of the other things going on in my life. For example, I put off doing a research paper for one of my classes until the last day, but I used the excuse I needed to be working on that paper for why I didn’t have time to do Bible Study. I am almost finished with my masters in social science education, and one of the classes I was in during the winter trimester required a 20-25 page paper. I waited until Monday morning at 11 a.m. to begin working on this paper, and I turned in a ten page paper at 10 p.m. Monday evening. The paper was not really bad per say, but definitely did not meet the length requirement. I passed the class, but I have failed at being the person I so desperately want to be. I am a failure…
However, I know this is not the end of the story, because chapters in your life end and new ones begin. The loser in one scene can be the heroine in the next. This is the beauty of the life with Christ – through Him, believers can be forgiven of their shortcomings and begin again. I am really simplifying this, but every day can be a chance to begin afresh and anew. People are going to fail, we are going to let people down, and we are going to royally mess things up every now and then. BUT that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. The question is not if you will fall, but if you, after falling, will have the strength and courage to rise and persevere.
I am determined to become healthier both spiritually and physically; therefore, I am getting up. I admit my failure, and I want to get up tomorrow and begin again. ;) I want to be the person that God has designed me to be.
With that said, I am faced with two possible paths at this moment. I have a degree in Social Science Ed and I am a licensed teacher; however, it has been extremely difficult to find a job around here. This year with the budget cuts, it will be even more difficult to find a job. (I am not saying that it is impossible because with God all things are possible. But less likely.) I also might have the opportunity to open a business in Ellisville with two other ladies that I currently work with at the florist. This could possibly mean opening a coffee shop in Ellisville which has been a dream of mine for a while now. BUT these are two very different dreams, and I don’t want to give up on the dream of teaching, but I am beginning to question if teaching is really my calling.
I am not really sure what I want to be when I grow up.  The problem is that I am 26, and I am supposed to know these things by now. So I am praying and asking for guidance and direction, and I have to go back to scripture and believe God when He says,
“Trust in God with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all things, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths or make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
I have to believe Him because through all the things I have been through I have learned that He (Christ) is trustworthy. He does have a plan, He will provide, and His way is best. I am still working on the patience thing as that is one virtue I don’t possess at this time.



I think all art captures the beauty in a moment and evokes very powerful emotions.
Music – a great song transcends the words, the notes, and the writer and takes the listener immediately to a place, a moment in time. Whether it is the memory of immense joy or immeasurable pain, the song brings back memories that are so fresh you can still smell the scent of the moment. Music can be the one thing that reminds us of hope, that the darkness is not the answer or be the one place where we find peace.
Painting and Drawing - this one is almost self-explanatory. I suppose the art is found in the person behind the brush or pencil as they are the ones that must choose the moment to capture and put onto paper or is it that the moment chooses the artist? We may never know the answer; however, there is one thing we do know – a great painting can either transport you back in time to the moment portrayed or leave you wondering what was going on behind the scenes in the picture.
Photography – this is one my personal favorites because a great photograph brings beauty to what may seem to be an everyday moment. It’s that moment when the little girl standing in the field of sunflowers peaks up over a sunflower or the moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time on their wedding day or that moment when old friends reunite after a lengthy separation. The beauty is in the moment just waiting to be captured.
Floral design – okay this may not seem like an art that captures the beauty in a moment; however, I challenge you to really think about how flowers are used to say something in many aspects of life. The wedding bouquet is one of the first things a bride thinks about – what flowers capture the essence of the bride’s personality along with her idea of what she wants her wedding to be like. Then there is the arrangement of flowers that rest on the casket of the deceased – the flowers that are the last thing a family can to do to say “I love you” and to honor the memory of their loved one.
Acting – a great actor or actress allows the audience to forget that the actor is a character and not really the person they are portraying, and a great film is one that transports you to a different world and allows you to experience emotions as though you are the one going through the events on screen.
I know there are so many other forms of art, and I in no way wish to diminish the beauty they capture. I am simply limited to my knowledge of these various art-forms, and a very smart woman once told to me to write about what you know about.
I am blessed with friends who possess an enormous amount of talent, and they inspire me to look for the beauty in all the moments, to be creative whenever possible, and to dare to express the beauty that we all possess. You see every artist and every piece of art is unique, and this is what is celebrated – the beauty in the difference.
You know I have always been the girl that sort of marched to my own drum as long as no one else knew about it. I wanted to blend in as much as possible when I was younger, but on the inside there was a rebel dying to get out. I didn’t want to be like everyone else, and I despise this idea that we all have some sort of cookie cutter mold we are to fit into. For me it is the finish college, complete the MRS. Degree, have the 2.2 children, the house, the car, and stay in the same place for the rest of my life. Not sure if you have noticed, I don’t fit that mold so well.
That is not what I want – I want an apartment downtown somewhere, single for a little while (something I have done for a while and I think I have mastered it… ), kids at some point, a business that I love and challenges me and allows creative expression, to move somewhere for a while, and a man that is not expecting me to be cookie cutter and loves me because of all my eccentricities (be warned they are numerous )!
I want to be unique.
I want to capture the beauty in a moment and evoke very powerful emotions. Be it love or hate. Just decide and stick to it.



Some times people put up walls, not to keep people away. But to see who cares enough to tear those walls down. Sophia Bush as Brooke Davis This quote is from One Tree Hill, and it doesn't really matter if you like the show or if you really have no idea what One Tree Hill is. Really read the quote and think about it! I think this describes me perfectly.

I have been burned pretty badly, and can I tell you that I doubt everyone including myself. For the longest time, it was so difficult to trust anyone even my best friends and family and sometimes even God. I knew that He had a plan for me, but I just didn't know if my plan and His were the same. It took me a really long time to even realize that I had been so closed off - I would not let anyone past the surface. This is still a struggle for me.

I admit it - I have walls put up around my heart, and its pretty difficult to get in, really in. However, that doesn't mean I don't want people to try. I want someone to break down those walls! I am still working on letting people in. Its scary to let people in cause they might leave and it hurts so much when that happens!

After realizing that I was doing this to God, I really have begun to try to let myself open up to Him again. Doing Bible Studies, living out God's love to people, and trying to know Him more because I know that is the only way to trust Him.

But I am trying...


so... i was thinking...

You know i went through this time where i really thought about whether or not i would be a christian if i weren't raised in the house i was. And one day while i was out side during the spring... it was a really beautiful day... And i just knew that i would know there had to be someone out there that created it. There just had to be something bigger than me out there that could create this amazing planet and our intricate bodies and the intricate systems that encompass our world.

One of my favorite things to do is to get up early and sit outside with a mug of coffee and just enjoy this painting God paints everyday! I know its not just for me, but I think a little of it is for me! I try to capture sunsets in pictures sometimes, but I don't it justice.



So I am sitting here in my house, alone, in the dark. I like this time when its quiet, and I don't have to smile or look interested or anything else remotely resembling life unless I want to. I think we all need time like this - time to stop and rest and be still! We go so much; we must stop once in a while. I do a lot of thinking during this time.
Why is it that we are afraid of being great? - how often do we have someone really great at something? I think its more often that we have people that do just enough to get by! I am guilty of this - especially in my classes. I am a relatively good student, school has never really been difficult for me. (with the exception of geometry and chemistry) But to be honest, I never really gave anything my all. I found that with a little bit of studying I could pull off an A or a B. And I just didn't care enough to try or was I afraid of being the weird girl that was actually passionate about something.
We do this a lot in our society - passionate people that aren't afraid of being great are either heralded as genius or insane. God forbid, we actually take something seriously, do our best, and be GREAT at what we do! You know those people who are great go through a great deal of refinement - which is often painful. They also are extremely dedicated which is the antithesis of being lazy. So I think we are afraid of being great because that might mean pain and work!
I am the world's worst at this... I want to be a great teacher, a great daughter, a great sister, a great friend, and one day a great wife and mother! The truth is I want to be great at what I do!


day whatever it is!

Okay so while sitting in church this morning, I suppose I had an epiphany that I think has been coming since the new year began. Very recently I was told that I am sitting on the bench of my own life - that I needed to get in the game. I tried to just blow it off, not to worry about it. After all, who was this little piss ant that thought he knew me? But this idea would not go away... Stupid piss ant! And today I realized that I have been sitting on the bench. I think I was so scared that if I got in the game, I would not be good enough at anything and I would fail but failure is not trying. Then I realized that I do this in most of the areas of my life - my career, a relationship, weight loss, new friends, etc. If I don't know I will succeed at something then I choose not to do it. How crazy is that?

I know this is probably really deep for a blog, but I don't care. If you read it then great, if not then you are missing out. I have chosen from now on to be in the game. I don't care what people think. I am Colie - slightly odd but I prefer unique, sometimes shy, extremely nerdy, somewhat flirtatious without that intent, kind of bossy at times, and scared to death to fail at life. I signed up for the boot camp at church, and I just want to give this precious life I have been given my all. So away with procrastination, laziness, insecurity, and self-doubt.

This life is too short to spend it worrying about crazy stuff that doesn't really matter. I want my life to bring honor and glory to God, and I am going to stop making excuses for why I don't think He should use me.


day two

Can I just tell you that I am a horrible student? I am taking graduate classes at a local university, and I am the student that waits to the last minute on everything, I turn things in late, and my papers are never as long as they are supposed to be. I have a 25 page paper due the second week of february, and I have not even decided on a topic yet. Also I have not even started on the annotated bibliography due in my other class. Did I mention I have a degree in teaching and my teaching license? So I am pretty much the student that would get on my own nerves!

All of this to say I had class tonight, and the guy the school deems to be the professor is an arrogant jerk which I suppose I should expect it from a "historian." Really, after working all day, do you really want to go listen to a man who loves the sound of his own voice? You know there is all of this work being done to help teachers make the elementary and high school classrooms more interactive and hands-on and visually stimulating. Then you get to college and they expect you to be completely okay with sitting in a lecture for an hour or longer and learn just as much if not more. I am a visual learner - I need to see what you are talking about to really take information in so this lecture format drives me crazy and does nothing for me!

Maybe thats why I really want to teach history cause there needs to be a visual history teacher that can get history across to visual learners. History can be interesting but you have to be prepared and give them something to look at, to remember!

Okay so that was my venting session. So I have to admit to you that I am really trying to eat more healthy, and I find that so difficult to do on these nights when I go from work to school. I end up eating whatever I can find and its usually really late. I need help... any ideas?!

Well this was definitely more of a vent/therapy session for me today. I hope any and all readers have a wonderful day tomorrow! Much Love


day one

Hey Buddy!
So this is my first blog and my first post. I want to do something that challenges me, and I just thought I would invite the world along for the ride. My church has issued a challenge for all of us that consists of four parts. It is based on Luke 2:52 which states (my paraphrase) that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man. The challenge is that we make a conscious effort to grow the following four areas
1. Wisdom
2. Stature
3. Favor with God
4. Favor with Man
So this is what I propose. I want to take this challenge and I will write about it so that my crazy days will encourage you and maybe help you in some way. This may seem like a lot to do but the areas build on each other somewhat. This will last one year from today. This not really a check list kind of thing but a list of ideas and heart issues that must be dealt with.
So for wisdom, I am committing to do a bible study every semester (which includes the summer). As I am currently a grad student this will take extra effort for this naturally lazy procrastinator. In the area of stature, our entire church has been challenged to be more healthy physically. I don't know what would be a reasonable amount of weight for me to expect to lose in a given period of time; therefore I am committing to some type of exercise three times a week for at least 3o minutes each day. I am also committing to eat a healthier.
Third favor with God is one area that I am still leaning about. I will post more on this area later. Finally is favor with man. This is a church-wide challenge to find your area of ministry and to go on some type of mission this year. Well, this is actually the part I am really excited about. I help out with the youth group at our church, and pretty soon my sister and I will be hosting a college age small group at our house. I have a heart for college students, and I just want the college students at our church to have a place while they are in this time of transition. More details to come on this area as well! Also I am taking the mission challenge - I hope to go on a couple mission trips this year with the youth and also with the church as a whole. Also I want to find a mission close to home to devote some time to, and this may come out in the college group as we have several colleges nearby our hometown.
So this will be a year-long challenge for me, and I am setting goals that I desperately want to reach. Hopefully you will be along for the ride for the good times, the bad times, the crying times, and the times that are just too funny for words!