If you could see what I see, I know you would believe

This week was rough on me.

Nothing really crazy happened to make it that way, yet I was dying every single day from not feeling completely like myself and from feeling like I had so much to do and not enough time to do it. It is crazy because I actually got to stay home three nights in a row without running around like a crazy woman going to practices and the grocery store and to bible study and trying to find the time to get my homework turned in somehow. Yet even with my surprise break that never happens, I was exhausted. Granted hormones played a part in it, but the timing had nothing to do with it.

Life was kicking my butt and all I could do was lie down and take it, which was not my finest moment.

Yesterday I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a fellow mom talking about how crazy her life was and how inadequate she felt with all the chaos going on around her. She has six kids who range in ages from three to eighteen and they all are involved in various activities as well as go to school and of course, just kind of exist and need to be taken care of because they are unable to take care of themselves on their own. In addition to motherhood, she runs her own business (two actually) and is the wife to a husband who owns his own as well. They have a beautiful home, their kids are smart and kind and well taken care of, and you can tell that through all the crazy they are pretty happy with their lives and she is doing a great job at simply being a mom and a loving wife.

There was another post that I saw later on from a different mother who was heartbroken over people giving her a hard time over her son’s behavior, who is three, and essentially behaving like any three-year-old boy. Their words were like knives and were ultimately making her feel like she was doing something wrong as a mother. Even though her son is gorgeous and well-mannered and loved so much by her and everyone who has ever met him and is happy and healthy and being raised to love the Lord, which if you asked me, is as good as it gets! She was still made to feel less than, and it hurt.

This morning I was updating my calendar because I signed up to take snacks for my son’s tee-ball team twice this season. I then took that time to add his Easter party at school and the trip I will soon be taking out of state to see my best friend to do a little wedding planning. As I was looking at my calendar I started to get a little bit of anxiety and wondering how in the world I was ever going to be able to do it all. In addition to the items that I added to my calendar, I already had many meetings for our mission trip team scheduled, conference calls at work, baseball games, Easter, birthday parties, assignments due and barely any white space for breathing room in-between.

Right as I was driving into work this morning the song priceless came on the radio. I hadn’t heard it in a while and the lyrics popped out at me. It was God. He was opening my ears to listen because I needed to hear it and because I needed to share it with others who needed to hear it too.

Mirror, mirror, mirror on the wall. Tellin’ those lies, pointing out your flaws, this isn’t who you are.

It might be hard to hear, but let me tell you, dear. If you could see what I see, I know you would believe this isn’t who you are, there’s more to who you are.

No matter what you have heard, this is what you are worth, you are more than all the money or diamonds and the pearls. Oh, this is who you are. There’s more to who you are.

I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right. I see a rose in bloom, at the sight of you. You are irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable, darling you are beautiful. I see it all in you, oh so priceless.

He’s talking to you moms. God loves you so much and thinks that you are superwoman, truly. He made you to take on the world and whatever life might throw your way. He made you strong and beautiful and brave and worthy. He made you to be gentle and kind. He made you to be the safe place for your children and their bravest fighter from all that is wrong in their world. He made you smart so you could juggle a million things at once without skipping a beat. He made you resilient so you could get back up when life knocks you down. He made you fearless in the face of danger or anything that could harm the ones you love. He made you perfect, in his image. He made you.

For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, in your book, was written every one of the days that were formed for me, before they ever happened. Psalm 139:13-16

You are perfect in every way. God doesn’t make mistakes, only masterpieces.

Just remember, when life gets rough and knocks you down by busy schedules, scary full calendars, or mean words from others. Dust yourself off, get back up again, and remember who you are. You are priceless.

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

My trip to Harmons, Jamaica

Last year, God decided He was going to shake my world up in ways that I could have never expected. In December of 2015 I answered the call to join the Jamaica Mission Team for 2016 (JAM Team)! In six short months God was going to prepare us spiritually, mentally, physically and through all of our other needs to travel to Harmons Jamaica and spend a week doing whatever it is that He asked us to do. Spreading His love through building relationships and changing lives forever (especially my own).

Over the next six months God really did a number on my heart. My relationship grew with Him in leaps and bounds and my trust and faith in Him and all that He is was greater than I had ever known, I was over the moon and ready to take on the world! But I would settle for a week in Jamaica! During those months we had to raise the money that we would need for the trip as well as donations that we would be taking with us. Including plane tickets, airport fees, passport fees (since I had never been out of the country before), trip insurance, food while we were there, things we would need to “survive” while we were, as well as the money that is used to help employee the people we would be working alongside during that week.  I honestly do not remember exactly how the money came or when it did, I just know that God provided every cent of my needs and I never had to think twice about where it would come from or if I would have enough to go. I trusted Him completely and He provided all of my needs!

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Miss Kimberly at our packing party.

As the days grew closer to us leaving, our team gathered together a few more times to square away the details and just get in some good bonding time. Then a few days before we left we took all of the donations that we had gathered over the last six months and packed them in two 50lb suite cases (twenty in total). Once this was done we were ready to go and just two short days after that we gathered at our church at four in the morning to load up and head out! We were on our way!!

As I stated before, this was my first time out of the country which was a big deal for me! It was also my first time on a plane, which was another huge deal for me! As well as my first time on a mission trip and my first time seeing the ocean! The whole entire trip was filled with first for me and I was so excited and so ready to experience them all!! Ain’t God good!

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Waiting to board the plane! I ❤ these people soooo much!
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Katie on the left, me on the right.

It is really hard to describe all of the feelings that came with this journey. But I was super glad that I was getting to share it all with my sister, Katie. Not that I was unable to go on my own, but having her there with me made it easier for sure. Plus, who wouldn’t want to experience such awesome stuff with their sister!! The plane ride wasn’t as bad as I expected, I mostly tried to ignore the fact that I was on a plane and had no way to escape to until it landed again. It was only a two-hour flight, which was awesome and coming into Jamaica was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen!  The second they opened those doors we knew we were in Jamaica, the humidity hit you in the face and you realized, this is the air that I will be breathing for the next week, Jamaican air baby!!

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First site of Jamaica!

We had a little mishap when we got to customs, because we were in a large group and because we were each bringing in 100lbs of goods that we didn’t plan on taking back home with us. But just like anything else in our lives, God took care of it for us! Instead of searching us like they were supposed to, they did a once over through each bag and sent us on our way! We were free!

It took us 3 ½ hours to get to Harmons from Mobay (Montego Bay). We had prepared ourselves for one of the worst rides of our lives going up into the mountains (from stories we had heard from other’s who had previously been on this trip), but we ended up taking the toll roads (which wasn’t so bad) until we go to the mountains and then experienced the scariest ride ever at nighttime up a mountain on the opposite side of the road going 80 miles an hour (I might be exaggerating it a little bit, but I am not too far off). Once we finally made it to the Harmony House we were greeted by the summer staff who we would be spending the next week with and unknowingly falling in love with before it was all said and done.

 

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The summer staff ❤

 

It was 9 o’clock at night and we had just spent the last sixteen hours traveling, so of course taking a picture was the way to go and unpacking all of our things to get ready for the week ahead of us! Yet none of that really mattered because as far as I was concerned, I was home!

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Straight off the bus!!

Over the next week I got to spend every moment with God, literally, from the time I woke up until I closed my eyes at night I felt like I was walking hand in hand with God and experiencing the most peaceful week that I had ever known before. I was up on the mountain with God and I never wanted to come back down! I know you are probably wondering why it’s not like that for me every day, here at home. The answer is; it is. God never ever leaves my side. But we have so many distractions here that make it hard to focus on Him like I need/want to and I have to struggle every day to keep my eyes on Him and Him alone. But, it is so worth it and I will live every day doing just that!

I’ll try to summarize the week as best as I can for you…

Day Two (first workday):

We went on a walkbout (a walk about) around the neighborhood and we got to meet Gonga!

I spent the day with the house ladies sorting through the clothes that we brought getting them ready to go into the Harmony House Store!

Then that evening we had a party at Son’s which was so much fun! I got to meet so many amazing people that day, and I cannot wait to see them again this year!

Day Three (second workday):

We built a foundation! You guys! It may sound silly to you, but this was the coolest thing ever! Literally from the ground up we put in the rocks and dirt and concrete that began the foundation of the home that someone would soon get to live in. Priceless.

On this day I saw a million different fruit trees; star wrapper, jack fruit, kens berry, tangerine, mango, avocado, (which is a pear to the U.S) and oranges (truly my favorite thing about Jamaica!)

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We did not cordinate all of the blue and green. haha

Day Four (third workday):

My sister and I got to go to the greenhouses. I spent half of the day with Maxine pruning tomato plants and just talking about life. It was amazing how much we had in common, but more amazing to see how much she loves God! She really touched my heart that day.

Later that day we went to the infirmary in Maypen. The infirmary is like a nursing home/orphanage where people go when they do not have anywhere else to go and they can’t survive on their own. It was a humbling experience, to say the least. My most favorite part was getting to meet Ms. Mary Patrick and listen to her quote entire books of the Bible without skipping a beat!

That evening we had a party at the crawl and enjoyed some relaxation in the community dancing the night away!

Day Five (fourth workday):

I got to meet the girls and get my hair braided! The entire week the rest of the team had been on their land building their new homes, and in another day we would get to dedicate them. I fell in love with this family and am blessed to still be in contact with them today! I hope I get to see them when we go back this year!

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Day Six (home dedication):

That morning we got to dedicate the completed homes to the two families that we were helping that week. It is really hard to explain what it feels like to hand the keys to a family and know that they will now have a roof over their head for years to come! It was a blessing to get to experience that and I am so thankful God allowed me to!

This was our last day in Harmons, bitter sweet for sure.

We spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out; climbing mountains, playing soccer, getting our hair braided and nails done and some of our team even got some awesome designs cut into their hair!

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Climbing the mountain was amazing. The absolute hardest thing I have ever physically done. But so rewarding!!

That night we had one last party with the community before saying our goodbyes and getting ready to leave in the morning. Best night ever.

Day Seven (back to Mobay):

As much as any “normal” person would look forward to the part where you spend the day on the beach, it was definitely the lowlight of my week. Amazing, in every way I’m not denying that. God really showed out when He created the ocean and all things in it. It was beautiful in every way and I could have stayed there forever, but it was nothing compared to the six days before in the mountains with Jesus.

That night we had one last hoorah with the team (and the team that was with us there all week from North Carolina…too much to tell about them all…but so much love and such great memories!!) The next morning we made our way back home.


Going to Harmons, Jamaica was truly one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. It is insanely crazy to think that it is just the beginning for what God has in store for me! It wasn’t just the seven days that I was gone either, but everything leading up to it and even the lessons I had to learn once I came home. Coming home was much harder than I expected it to be, coming back to the reality that we live in and hating the way that the world is, it was hard. It is still hard. But I am thankful to have a different perspective on life and the world and all the things in it.

I have so much more to learn and experience, I know that. But this experience will be one I never forget. We are going back to Harmons this summer with a different team and I am so stinking excited and grateful that God has called me to go again! I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am and how much I cannot wait to see everyone there!! God really showed up big last year, I can’t even fathom what He is going to do for us this year!! Keep me in your prayers, and my team that is going. We will definitely need each and everyone one of them. Thank you for taking the time to read this all the way through to the end. If you every really want to hear the details, I would be glad to share them with you! Plus I have more pictures 😉

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

 

p.s. The organization that we partner with on this trip is Won by One – check them out!

If you want to help donate for this year’s trip you can do so here (or click on the picture on my sidebar)

I want to go back

I want to go back to the basics. I want to be like a child again. I want to live in a world where this is the same for everyone. Through the way that we act and the way that we treat each other and the way that we see others, the world, and Jesus.

We teach our children to act this way, we teach our children to follow these rules, we teach our children to believe in these things, yet somehow we do not expect the same from ourselves. In simple things like;

Please
Thank you
No Thank you
Yes ma’am
Yes sir
No ma’am
No sir
You’re welcome
May I
Excuse me
I’m sorry
Forgive me
I forgive you
Treating other’s as you wish to be treated
Respect your elders
Listening to understand, not to respond
Waiting to talk and not interrupting others
Asking permission when the person, place, or thing is not yours
Being kind by thinking before you speak
If you do not have anything nice to say, then you probably should not say it all
Acknowledging someone in your presence
Knocking before you enter
Opening the door for others
Waving back at someone who waves at you
Returning a smile
Offering to help, even when it’s not needed
Using language that is pleasing to God, essentially anything that is good and anything that is true
Not calling people names, even if you think it is “just a joke”
Giving someone your full attention, even if you are bored and uninterested (in any given situation)

The list undoubtedly goes on and I would have let it, but hopefully something in that list struck a chord with you and made you think twice about how often you do that in your own life, or if you do at all. The answer should be always, every day, at every opportunity and I know for a lot of you, it is not.

This goes far beyond just face to face interaction, but as adults this can mean on the phone with a bill collector or someone from your job, at the store while you are shopping and passing people down the aisle, in your car driving down the road as you let someone onto the road or take turns in a parking lot without having to be the “most important person on the road”.

Taking the time to remember someone’s birthday, and calling them or texting them to tell them so (instead of simply allowing Facebook to do it for you).

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praise worthy — think about these things. Phillipians 4:8

All of these things seem may seem trivial, yet have such a profound impact on our world and the way that it is today and what it will be like in the future. You truly can help make the world a better place by doing any one of those things, every day. Imagine if you did them all, without question or a second thought. Imagine what the world would be like. Imagine what your world would be like.

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Not only are we setting good examples for others around us, but the most important of all is the children who watch us and mimic our actions. What kind of example are you setting? How are your actions changing the world?

There’s more.

God expects us to act this way. Matthew 18:2-6 Jesus called a little child to him, and placed the child among them and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Jesus is not calling us to be perfect. He is just calling us to be kind, honorable, loving, and to treat each other with respect. That is why my children teach me the most about God, because they allow me to see myself through His eyes, through theirs.

My friend sent me a song yesterday that really summed this all up for me and was exactly what I have been feeling for quite some time now. Listen to it.

“I wanna go back to Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. I wanna go back to this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. I want to go back to yes, Jesus loves me.”

I want to go back to blind faith, as small as a mustard seed, yet big enough to move a mountain. I want to go back to pure joy, for no reason. I want to go back to being enamored by the stars and thinking my daddy hung the moon. I want to go back to smelling every rose. I want to go back to jumping in puddles and watching the clouds for hours. I want to go back to singing random songs I just made up and dancing to the music in my head. I want to go back to walking around in circles in my front yard and talking to God. I want to go back to never knowing a stranger. I want to go back to thinking I could save the world, with just one hug, and then trying to. I want to go back to the basics. I want to go back to being like a child.

Stay Blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

Baseball Season, the most wonderful time of the year

It’s spring time! You know what that means?! Baseball Season!! The most wonderful time of the year; when you are a baseball mom of course! For all you moms out there that are starting your first week of practices or already got a game or two under your belt, this is for you.

I am a second-year veteran tee-ball mom. I know you 10 – 12 moms are rolling your eyes right now because two years is nothing compared to the 5+ that you have under your belt. But before I was a tee-ball mom, I was a baseball and softball aunt. I did my fair share of running kids to practices multiple days a week and running between two games that are at the same time (sometimes in completely different locations) trying to cheer for both kids, staying as long as you can until one bats and then run back as fast as you can to the other game before the other one is on deck.

Baseball season can be grueling y’all.

Game on Monday, practice on Tuesday, church on Wednesday, game on Thursday, practice on Friday, Tournament on the weekend, all weekend.

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You can forget about eating decent meals for the next three months (six if you make it to all-stars). Concession stand foods, take-out, sandwiches in the car or frozen meals in the microwave/oven minutes before it is time to hit the hay and do it all over again.

Let us not forget about uniforms. What are your team colors this year? Black and some other dark color, like royal blue or forest green? We got gray this year which is the ugly first cousin to white, which means that we will be washing those bad boys every day. Do not even get me started on white and the stains…oh, the stains…you might as well get you two or three pairs if you want to make it through the season.

Oh yeah word to the wise, all the other moms out there hate you this year. Keep that in mind when you get a crazy look from another mom right after a game that both of your kids just played in. You didn’t do anything wrong, she’s just thinking about how she is going to stay up all night making sure she gets the fresh grass stains our of what started out as pearly white pants (for the umpteenth time) while you get to go home and pop yours in the washer without a second thought and then go straight to bed, it’s not personal, but you suck.

It is super fun if you have children who are not even playing that year. Oh, you forgot you had other children? Yeah, the ones that you have to try to entertain and keep an eye on while simultaneously cheering on the one in the game. The one who is constantly asking you for one more dollar because the snow cone man is there. Sure, you feel lucky when they have other friends at the game that they can play with and thus be entertained without your help. Except, when you look up and notice how filthy they are because they just spent the last thirty minutes rolling down a dirt hill (that last inning was too intense to look away from, I know). Doesn’t make it suck any less when you are forced to give them a bath before they go to bed.

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You have to give it to them, though. They are either not old enough to play yet or completely uninterested in doing so, but still tag along to every game excited as can be and usually without much trouble, eat crap for dinner for three months, getting less sleep at night, doing homework in a camping chair, lugging around chairs and bags and snacks for the team or simply sitting outside for hours on end in the blistering heat without any other choice and deciding to make the most of it. Well-deserved recognition for their efforts I’d say, be sure to thank them for it the next time you see them.

But somehow, through all the insanity, it truly is a wonderful time of the year.

There is nothing in the world like it. I know, it is little league baseball. But it is so dang exciting and so much fun to watch. The tee-ball years are the best and comical, to say the least. Digging holes in the outfield, chasing each other around to get the ball, dancing to the music in their head, trying to catch the pretty butterfly, hey look, mom, a plane! Then they move up to coach pitch and you really get to see their talents unfold, they are starting to get the hang of just how the game works, and by this time you are pretty clear on the type of player they will be in years to come and exactly what they need to work on in the off season to impress their coaches next year.

Once they move into kid pitch they have become “pros”, truly, experts on the way a season goes. Ready for their practices, the many different coaching styles, which players to look out for on other teams, what to expect day to day in the months to come, and when they play they come ready for whatever position they excel in most ready to hit the ball out of the park (because it’s going to happen this year).

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Each year really does get a little bit sweeter and a little more exciting and a little closer to them growing up and playing in the “big leagues”.

There is nothing quite like being a baseball mom. It takes a lot of talent, yes talent, to get through the season with your sanity still intact. You are the chauffeur. The dry cleaner. The fast food girl. The teacher. The scorekeeper. The team mom. The friend. Heck, sometimes even the doctor. But most important you are their biggest fan, they know it, and they love you for it. When the season is over, a party is definitely needed to celebrate being alive and getting your life back. But you are also sad because you know there will be seven months separating you from the next game, the next practice, the next all weekend baseball tourney and all the crazy in between…and you will miss it.

Baseball really is the best time of the year, if you are a fellow baseball mom you know what I am talking about. Good luck, I’ll see you out there. Let’s play ball!

Stay Blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

Important Choices

Lately, I have watched people suffer for reasons that ultimately could have been prevented. Not just lately, this has been happening for forever but lately, it’s been bothering me more and more and I want to talk about it.

I will start off by saying, I am well aware that there are things in our lives that we have absolutely no control over and in those moments, the following does not apply. But in the grand scheme of things and as we go through life day to day, the things that happen to us are a result of the choices that we make. Simply put; we have control over our lives and what happens to us and whether or not we are happy or sad, healthy or unhealthy, rich or poor, kind or not.

choices

Each morning when you wake up you have to make the choice whether to stay in bed or get out of it. For those with jobs, staying in bed could mean missing work and potentially losing your job. The same as choosing to get out of bed would mean that you do go to work and in return keep your job. For those without jobs, staying in bed could mean that you continue to not have a job and suffer the consequences that come with that, whatever it may be. Choosing to get out of bed could mean countless opportunities of productiveness depending on what you choose to or not to do with your time. No matter how you look at it, your end result is defined by a choice that you made.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move it up a notch. Making choices applies to everything we do in life. Yes, everything. In addition to making choices, there is a need to take responsibility for the choices that you make. Responsibility? What’s that I say?

The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something

You heard it here folks. When you make a choice, no matter what that choice is, no matter how great it is or how bad that it is, you are responsible for it. You are responsible for whatever ripples from that choice. i.e. the example given above when choosing not get out of bed when you have a job and you then lose said job, it’s your fault. Just as, if you chose to get out of bed even when you do not have a job and that choice leads to the finding of a new job or a clean house or whatever it is that you decide to do, it’s also your fault.

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Now you are wondering; what’s the point, where I am going with this? The point is that we need to do a better job at taking responsibility for our choices. By doing this that means that you accept the repercussions of your actions, no matter if they are good or if they are bad. In doing so, a lot more foolery would end, because 99% of the time a person does not want to take responsibility for their actions when it gets them in trouble, hurts them, hurts someone else, or ultimately causes harm and not good. Which means, if you took responsibility for your actions 100% of the time, you are a lot less likely to make bad choices.

There’s more.

You are not responsible for someone else’s actions.

This one is undoubtedly the harder one for most people, I believe. For some insane reason, people want to blame themselves or take responsibility for someone else’s actions. Which is crazy, because you cannot. But still, people try and in doing so tire themselves and wonder why good does not come from it, and the reality is; it just does not work that way. Sure, you “can” take responsibility and you can suffer the consequences of their choices, but why would you want to, especially if in doing so causes you harm?

Which brings me to my next point.

You do not owe anyone anything in this life. I am so serious, nothing.

Do not get me wrong again here. Out of love and respect and the desire to make others happy, we want to give what is given to us in return (the good anyhow). But you are not obligated to and there is not some unwritten rule, or written for that matter, that says that you have to keep someone in your life simply because they have been a part of it and have “done something” to deserve it.

Yet again, I tell you truth. If someone is doing more harm than good in your life. You do not have to let them stay there. It does not matter if that person is your mom or dad, your sister or brother, grandmother or grandfather, aunt or uncle, boss or co-worker, or even your best friend. You have the right to choose to have a better life, even if that means one where that person is not in it.

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I get it, making a choice like that is hard. Like really hard. I have been there before and had to make that choice and it was not fun and it really has been hard to live with at times. Not from regret, but because I do not wish for anyone to not be a part of my life, especially family. But sometimes, for the sake of your own well-being and your children’s, if you have them; you have to make hard choices. It is necessary, and in the end, you will be so much better off for it.

Picture it like this; your life is a garden of flowers and everyone in your life (or garden) is a beautiful unique flower. But, just like in any garden, there are weeds that can and will grow. You have to make sure to weed out the bad so that ultimately your garden as a whole will not die, but also by doing so you make way for all of the good flowers and have space for more to grow. Meaning, you have to take care of yourself and weed out the bad people and things in your life so that your life will be beautiful and full of good things and good people. By doing so, you make way for more beautiful things to grow and good people to come into your life.

Life is hard, I know. I live here too. But it does not have to be so bad and you truly do have the power to change it for yourself and those around you. It all starts with the choices that you make and your ability to take responsibility for them. Once you understand that, you are golden, and it is only up from here.

Stay Blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

What a Beautiful Name

March Sixteenth Twenty Seventeen. I love this day, every year. I realize to most this day is just the sixteenth day of March. The seventy-fifth day in the year, seventy-sixth on a leap year. A normal day, this year a Thursday, probably someone’s birthday, but in general it is just March Sixteenth.

To me, it is so much more.

It is a reminder of something so beautiful, it is a reminder of love, it is a reminder of hope and peace and grace and all things good. It is a reminder that God, sent His son Jesus to earth to die for our sins and save me and anyone else who believes in him, from eternal death, and instead, gives eternal life with Him. Forever.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son so that anyone who believes in Him should never perish and have eternal life.

The greatest love story every written and that there ever was, and He did it for you.

You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down. My sin was great, but your love was greater and nothing can ever separate us now. – What a Beautiful Name

 

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My heart swells every time I hear that name, the name of Jesus. Mere words cannot express the love and adoration I have for Him. How much He has changed my life and just how much He loves me, and you.

I know that you don’t understand the fullness of my love, how I died upon the cross for your sins. And I know that you don’t realize how much that I gave you, but I promise, I would do it all again. – Love Song

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Death could not hold Him, the veil was torn before Him and uncovered for our sins. Nothing can separate us from Him or from every being with Him. Neither death or life, angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers in between, can keep us from his love. Romans 8:38

If you do not know His love, you are missing out. It is yours for the taking and it is such a beautiful thing.

Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you so much.

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

via Daily Prompt: Massive

Through the Storm

Things have been a little crazy for me lately. There are so many things I wish I could just pour out to you all and get off my chest, but I know that I cannot, because it is not mine to tell. But it is weighing on me and normally the light at the end of the tunnel would have appeared by now. Normally the break in the clouds where there is just a tiny glimmer of the sun would be present. By this time, even though it is still gloomy and cold, a rainbow would appear signaling that it is over and we can come out now. But it has not happened, and I am starting to feel like it never will.

I celebrated my birthday this past weekend, the whole weekend. It was great! On Friday I went to an eat, paint, drink party with ten lovely women who I am so insanely blessed to know and call my friends. I actually had to point out to them how lucky I am that I can say that. I know 10 people who love me, not just love me, but like me and want to spend time with me. Each one of them has been in my life for either all of it or a significant amount of time where I feel like I am winning because they are still here and most likely will not be going anywhere anytime soon or they probably would have already.

Saturday I drove to Dallas with my family and we went to the aquarium and then later attended a Mavericks game, it was pretty sweet too. The simple blessings of being able to make memories with them doing something none of us had ever done before and enjoying being around each other. We came home Sunday, my actual birthday, and I spent the entire day being lazy. That night my brother and his girlfriend came over, along with my mother and my sister, and we just hung out and spent time with each other (which we do not often do anymore).

I received a bunch of amazing gifts from my friends and my boss. Which all were a reflection of who I am and what I love most, which was really special and I am so thankful for. Yet, even after all of that amazing wonderfulness that I experienced and that I received, I was singed with sadness. A sadness that I have absolutely no control over and I wish I could make go away, but right now it is just not going to, and I am afraid to find out how long it is going to take before it does.

For all of you, that know me personally do not freak out. I am fine and I will be because I got Jesus and you know this. But I am struggling with what to do next, where to go from here and how to keep my spirits up in the meantime. If I did not have Jesus I honestly do not know what I would do. Thank God, for Him. Every time I turn around and something little should crush me, God shows up and shows out and says NOT TODAY! Keep your head up baby girl. We are going to get through this. Just trust me and keep your eyes on me and all will be well.

I was on the way to work this morning jamming out to KVNE and listening to the morning show. A lady called in to request a song and before she said goodbye they asked if they could pray for her, she said yes, and they did. Right there on the spot before they played the next song, which was Praise You in the Storm, by Casting Crowns. I cried and lifted my hands and praised him through my storm, all the way to work.

God is good y’all.

Stay Blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

Through Their Eyes

When is the last time you looked at your kids like really looked at them? If you are like me you are probably thinking, I look at my kids every day! But if you are also like me you know what I am saying when I ask you the question, when is the last time you looked at your kids, really looked at them?

I have had the opportunity to really look at my kids quite a few times in the last week or so, the first being when my oldest and I went out to eat after his baseball practice last Thursday, just him and me. He sat across the table from me, so little yet so much older than I remember him being, beautiful in every way, talking to me like a normal adult sitting across from me on a dinner date, except instead of an adult it was my five-year-old son.  I honestly do not remember anything that he said to me during that dinner as horrible as that may sound, except for random chatter about how much he was starving as he shoved another chip into his mouth and how cold he was (because he left his jacket in the car even though I told him to bring it inside), all I could do was stare at him and admire him and think about how much I love him, so much.

He sat across the table from me, so little yet so much older than I remember him being, beautiful in every way, talking to me like a normal adult sitting across from me on a dinner date, except instead of an adult it was my five-year-old son.

The second opportunity was yesterday, I had to take my car to the shop to get new tires put on it because we were lucky enough to get a flat after driving through construction work on the railroad near our house. As sucky as that may have been, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend some more one on one time with my oldest in the waiting room as we waited for the car to be fixed. There was a pile of toys and books in the corner, and he chose to play with the toys first of course, so incredibly happy that he found the coolest toys ever (which I am sure were from McDonald’s) that were so entertaining to him because it was something he had never played with before and he was not having to share it with anyone else, especially his little brother.

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I love watching his imagination, the silly things he comes up with as he plays, but mostly how his eyes sparkle while he does it and then how he looks at me to find enjoyment on my face from all the fun that he is having. After a couple of minutes, he picked up a book and decided he wanted to read to me. Side note; he just learned how to read this year and somewhere in the last month he went from struggling with sight words to reading 60 page Dr. Seuss books without a skip in his step. I enjoy listening to him read. But again, more than the words that he was reading to me, I noticed how magnificently beautiful he is, how long his eyelashes are, how he has little freckles all over his cheeks, his big beautiful blue eyes and how he has the cutest little smile that he will flash at me when I least expect it. This time I decided I had to take a picture and savor him, in that moment, forever.

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The most recent opportunity that I was so incredibly blessed to have although I fought not to, was with my youngest son, last night as he lay in bed next to me as I was struggling to get him to go to bed. He was not supposed to be in bed with me, I originally put him to bed in his own room but fifteen minutes later it was extremely quiet in the house and I knew that he had not fallen asleep that fast so, I sent my husband to check on him and low and behold he had my brand new stick of deodorant in his bed and had smeared it all over himself, thus destroying the entire stick and making a terrible mess in his bed that he now could not sleep in. Perfect.

He smelt lovely, but I was less than thrilled. However, he won the battle and was now lying next to me smelling fresher than ever and so incredibly happy to be next to his momma in her bed where he wanted to be in the first place. I turned to look at him as I told him what a huge turd he was for doing that, and he proceeded to stroke my face and tell me how much he loved me. My heart melted right there. He pulls that card often, doing something that will get him in trouble, usually when he knows better not to and then pouring his love on me just when I am most upset with him. I would like to say that I am strong enough to resist him and continue to be mad at him in those moments. But I am not, and I do not stay that way. Instead, I just lay there while he strokes my face and gazes at me with so much love and admiration, just loving on me his favorite person in the world.

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As I drove to work this morning, I was ruminating on these moments. Thanking God for blessing me and choosing me to be these two amazing little boys mama.  Wondering how I got so lucky and then realizing God feels the same way about me, the exact same way, if not so much more than that. He is constantly in admiration for me and just looking down on me smiling no matter what it is I am doing, and in those moments where I mess up, which is often, he allows me to come to Him and say I am sorry and love on Him and He just soaks it up and loves me back with a love greater than anything I will ever know. He uses my boys more than anything to show me that, He is my daddy and I am His daughter and there is nothing I can ever do to change that.

 

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

This song says it all.

via Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Beautiful Anxiety

I slept through my alarms this morning and apparently turned them off without noticing. I went to bed a little later than usual, which I am sure attributed to my tiredness, but the past few days and weeks have been overwhelming for me. The last two, in particular, have been the most draining. I hate when this happens to me, I have no control over it and it all boils down to my emotions.

I try really hard not to question God and why He made me the way that he did. In fact, especially when I do not understand it most, I attempt to appreciate the uniqueness that has been given to me and channel it towards Him and furthering His kingdom. The past few years have been the hardest in this area because my relationship with God has grown so deeply where He is stretching me and growing me as a person, in ways that I sometimes cannot keep up with or fully understand.

This past year I struggled with anxiety, really bad. Overwhelming anxiety that was so strong every day that even with medicine it was physically debilitating. Some days were better than others and some days I was so exhausted by it that I just wanted the day to end so I could go to sleep and be free from its burdens for a couple of hours, without interruption. The hardest part about it all was not being able to control it, not being able to pinpoint the cause of it so I could attempt to fix it or make it better.

My anxiety seems to stem from deep rooted emotions for things going on around me, most usually not even my own circumstances. I truly believe that God gave me a gift to be able to feel what others are feeling and be concerned for others when they need it the most. Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. This is something that I do, even when I am not trying to or honestly do not “want to” because I just do not feel up to it, yet it is a part of who I am and I cannot hide it or change it.

Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Towards the end of last year, my anxiety was peaking at an all-time high. With the upcoming presidential elections and all the hate and discord that happened during that time, to ongoing circumstances in my family that I could not change fix or heal, to everyday life with my children watching them grow before my eyes and all the wonderful activities that come with it. My anxiety medicine decided to just stop working one day and by mid-morning on each day that followed, I was usually having a full blown panic attack. Thankfully, through prayer and my favorite essential oils, I was able to get through those days and by the grace of God discovered a natural vitamin that took away my anxiety altogether, sweet relief.

That was in November and I can honestly say that I have been anxiety free since then, even through the madness of the holidays and all that comes with it. I was pretty chill during this time and able to get things done in a way that I had been neglecting for nearly a year straight. I was able to be in situations that in years past would have not been an easy feat for me. I have been doing things that I have always been incredibly scared to try, like leading a group of people in a bible study each week, cooking bacon for the first time in my life, or starting this blog.

You see, there is an overwhelming peace that comes with being keenly aware of your own emotions and those of others around you. There is also a sense of burden, confusion, and pain from not being able to separate it or turn it off. I am both humbled and honored that God would give me such a gift, and at times angry and tired and wish that He would just take it all away. But, I am thankful that I did not write my story or create the me that I am because I would miss it. I know God does not make mistakes and when He made me to care so much for others around me, He also gave me the tools that I would need to handle it and ultimately use it for good to bring glory to His name.

This past week, my anxiety returned. Not even remotely like it was before. But just enough to take my breath away, and drain me through utter exhaustion and bouts of confusion where I cannot think straight or do the things I need to do without struggling or taking twice as long to get it done. Although this week has been great in all aspects that pertain to me and my immediate family, it has not been so great for others around me; from the pain that they are enduring from loss of loved ones or the fear that comes with it once they have, to unforeseen circumstances added to an already stressful situation, it has been overwhelming.

“Blessed be the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corininthians 1:3-4

If you are still reading this, you are probably telling me; to stop. Mind your own business. You cannot let what is going on in other people’s lives affect you so much. It is not your problem so why are you letting it bother you. Get a grip. Focus on yourself and let other people worry about their own problems, you have enough of your own. Just pray about it, that’s all that you can do anyways.

Then I would tell you; I can’t. I was not made to. Oh trust me, I have tried. You try arguing with God and see if you win. Grow closer to God and see what he does to you. I have prayed about it and I will continue to, without ceasing, pleading with the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf when I do not have the strength or the words.  Because that is all that I can do, and quite frankly, what I was called to do.

“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18

Yeah, it sucks. But through prayer and trusting God, it will not last forever. I do not think my anxiety has returned and is here to stay, I just think that while I am dealing with some of the emotions going on around me I need to take my anxiety as a reminder to pray, hard, for those who really need it. The gift to love others so deeply that their sorrow becomes your sorrow and their joy becomes your joy is a beautiful blessing. Sometimes it is hard to cope with, especially in times of sorrow, but I think that’s why He allows us to feel their joy too, to remind us, that even though pain may come through the night joy will come in the morning.

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

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Accepting Change

A little back story for perspective…

I used to be afraid of change. I grew up in what some might think of as an unstable household with a single mother that worked a lot of hours to provide for our family. It has always been me, my mom, my brother and my sister. We visited our dad when we could and he came to see us at our school functions as often as he was able. Most of our free time was spent at church or at our grandparent’s house, where our cousins became our best friends and being with family was my most favorite thing in the world to do.

Even though the world around me was constantly changing, I barely ever noticed because I was happy with the world that I knew, with my family and in the church. Many seasons would come and go, as time went on we got older and although there were times when we would not see each other, I could always count on the times when we would. Every holiday, most birthdays, an occasional wedding or funeral and our most favorite time of the year, the Yamboree (the Yamboree is a festival in our hometown that our family has oddly always treated as some sort of holiday or family reunion) it truly is the best time of the year.

Each year that went by came with small changes that I barely even noticed, and some that were more apparent than others. A cousin that got married and added a new member to the family, that then had a baby and added another. Birthdays going by and moving on in school where each year brought new opportunities and sometimes new friends. My brother moving off to college and leaving us three girls in the house, which was a huge change, but we saw him a lot and he was close enough where it was like he never left. Then, my sister falling in love, getting married, and having her first child and leaving our home and starting her “new life”.

I actually managed pretty well with change up until my teenage years, when changes were happening what seemed like every second and I could not keep up. Over the next couple of years or pretty much through my entire teenage stint, I stayed on this rollercoaster that I could not wait to get off of and eventually did when I turned twenty. It was not until then that I learned about the different seasons in life and how they contribute to who we are and where we are going. That nothing lasts forever and everything changes with time.

…when changes were happening what seemed like every second and I could not keep up.

I cannot pinpoint exactly when I decided to embrace change for the better, but when I did my perspective on life changed with it. We all have different seasons in our life from our childhood, to our adolescence, then on to being an adult. Before we start school, the twelve years in-between, college, dating, marriage, having children, a career, the list goes on. Each season is different for everyone and no two seasons are the same from one person to the next.

When I was twenty, I walked into a new season in my life, where I met my husband and we had our first child. Then a couple of years later a new season came, where we bought our first home and had our second child. After that, we experienced a season of growth when his hours got cut at work and then in time his company shut down and laid everyone off completely. During this time I left my position as a stay at home mom and ventured out into the work world and into a new season of my own.

As each year has gone by, so many things have changed that I can hardly keep up, but make for a great time sitting back on the porch and reminiscing about with family and friends. Our family has grown into separate directions because we have all made “new” families of our own. We still see each other on certain holidays and if we are lucky and able to, at the Yamboree. As much as I loved the times when we were all together and soak up every minute when we get to now, I understand that this is just the way life goes and with each new season comes inevitable change and new memories.

…but make for a great time sitting back on the porch and reminiscing about with family and friends.

As I said before, seasons are different for everyone. When I was meeting my husband and having our first child, other’s my age were in their second year of college and looking to start their careers. Just as, the time I started my career, others my age were just now settling down to start their families. Each season brings new changes, and if you pay attention will show you the changes that have been made in you. I for one look forward to the new seasons, the changes that come with them, and what God has in store for me as I start a new journey. I will not lie, I still stumble with change from time to time, especially when it hits you out of nowhere and you are not prepared for it. But, I once was afraid of change, and now it’s one of my favorite parts of life and I have learned to embrace it and see what new wonders it brings; because at the end of the day, change is a beautiful thing.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as a pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, and not as I would have it. Trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will, that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart