Memphis Memories

Hi beautiful! Do you ever feel like the world is throwing all of your weaknesses at you and you just can’t get a break? That has been me this week as I travelled to Memphis, Tennessee with my family, friends and boyfriend for the St. Jude Classic Fundraiser. A part from internal struggles, I got to work the event and be a part of such a humbling experience while meeting some extraordinary people. Within times of weakness and worry, God is always throwing messages at you. Thank you for joining today as I share mine!

Memphis is a city that I don’t go to often but they have so many local places that are hidden from the tourists. Our first night we went to a brewery called, Wiseacre Brewery, that was tucked away behind a train track. Not going to lie, it looked a little sketchy but was so colorful and eclectic on the inside! We met up with everyone on the St. Jude fundraising board, family and friends and got to taste test a bunch of beers. I’m not that big of a beer person because it makes me feel real full, but I enjoyed the company and the atmosphere of the brewery!

Next, we watched the Preds game (GO PREDS) in a private room at a restaurant right above Beal Street while enjoying some fried avocado! This was a new treat and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was the beginning of my traveling and eating mind game that I kept playing. On the outside I seemed composed and put together, but on the inside I felt huge and uncomfortable. I often forgot about that when I looked up and smiled at the new people and the person by my side. We have to remember what truly matters and that’s memories.

My favorite memory from the entire weekend was when we got to go on a private tour to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. This place is a family. It costs at least 2 million to run St. Jude DAILY! What?! I have never seen so many relationships been built from a tragic situation. Our tour guide was a St. Jude survivor herself and was the happiest person I have ever met. She even met the love of her life at that hospital, who was a survivor himself. She would pass people in the hallway and say she saved me! They provide proms to teenage girls who can’t go to a real one and make them feel absolutely beautiful. People should feel like that every single day and St. Jude makes sure everyone in there does.

Our tour began in a room with a group of patients. Comes to find out, the girl I got to talk to was named Madison and she was a blogger herself! Talking to her was so uplifting that I forgot I was even in a hospital…We talked about everything. She also wants to blog about her travels to Germany. Nick travelled there so they hit it off as well. It is crazy how out of every patient in that hospital, Madison was the one we got to talk to. God makes no mistakes when he plans to bring people together.

We also met a young boy who is in the process of surgeries, but is a sports blogger and has actually interviewed NFL players during the Super Bowl! The joy that comes from these individuals when they have been fighting for their lives is mind blowing. How could I ever let the anxiety and regret from eating my english muffin and jam that morning in the hotel get in the way of the joy that should fill me every day?

They had to force us to leave so we could see all the latest technology they offer. We ended up eating lunch with all of them in the St. Jude cafeteria. The food was SO good. I had sushi and my favorite part was all of the doctor’s eat in the same place as the patients and families because it is there home also.

For some reason after that tour of a lifetime, I decided to go to the gym to get that sushi and english muffin off my mind. As soon as I got there, a woman was working out right beside me and was probably the most hard working person I have ever had to workout next to. I instantly felt insecure and every weakness of mine popped into my head. I ended up leaving and feeling worse than I did entering. I tried to stop and think of Madison as she ate her cake in a cup in such a happy manner. That’s what truly matters.

Fast forward, the event that night consisted of live entertainment and an auction where people gave over 20 thousand dollars instantly. It is amazing how giving people are! Once again my mind was blown and I ended my evening eating a bag of chips and sleeping like a baby.

The next morning before leaving town, we had to try a local coffee shop that happened to be one of Madison’s favorites! It was called Cafe Eclectic, one of my favorite words ha so it was a no brainer that we had to show up. I loved this shop. I had an almond milk cappuccino along with a yogurt and granola bowl, one egg and half a biscuit with homemade jam (my weakness). Sadly, I didn’t like the yogurt they used, but the coffee was amazing! The cappuccino ended up spilling all over me…they brought me another one so all was well! I would definitely go back so check it out if you are ever in the area.

Not going to lie, I was struggling. Yes, from being soaked in coffee, but also I woke up not feeling well at all. I was taking at least two things of medication and still battling my mind of body image. I wanted to cry it out in the car, but instead of running there, I ended up opening my Jesus Calling (You can order online for an amazing price here) right at the table. God was there and knew exactly what I was thinking because it read-

“Who is in charge of your life? If it is you, then you have good reason to worry. But since I am in charge, worry is both unnecessary and counterproductive. When you start to feel anxious about something, relinquish the situation to Me…” 

The best part was that when I started to look up the message again online,the link did not take me to the verse in the book, but instead lead me to one that I read and shared the last time I was making what I ate my priority-

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Mathew 6:25-27

There is so much more in this amazing life that we should focus on. On a poster in the hospital a child wrote, “We are God’s warriors.” We are exactly that. We aren’t perfect, but we are perfectly created in His image.

I encourage you to think of what true joy is and what should be remembered at the end of each and every day. You are SO loved! Order a cappuccino, eat multiple biscuits, love on others, and be one of God’s warriors today. Can’t wait to visit this unique city again!

The “Adulting” Vacation

Summer is officially here! Today I want to give you all the details from my vacation in Florida this past week. I have posted here and there but have so much to share. Thanks for reading with me today!

I grew up going to Seagrove in Florida. It is right between Seaside and Rose Mary Beach. This was my family trip every year, my high school spring breaks and my weekend girl trips. I got to go back one last time while still sharing my last name with my sister and having my boyfriend by my side. We have gone on countless family vacations, all with the same crazy stories. A joke now is that we are becoming adults, but adulting can be fun, can’t it?

This time around in Florida, at the top of my list was to really embrace this trip by staying carefree and truly allowing my mind and body to be on vacation. This time last year, I was still trying to overcome accepting myself in a swimsuit and overcoming certain relationships. Now, I am in a new stage of life. I know my mind, so in order to fight my certain weaknesses, Nick and I decided to watch the sunrise multiple times. This requires making the coffee the night before, bundling up, and waking up at 5:30am. This was the best decision we made because it was jaw dropping. I never realized what goes on every morning while we stay asleep. A new day is a rebirth of opportunities. We can’t worry about yesterday, so I encourage you to wake up, breathe, sip on that coffee, say a prayer, and see the beauty that exists.

This is what I know: In this life, a steady love, and a place to call home, are far more precious than all the earthly possessions and wealth in the world.” – Beau Taplin 

How do I stay active at the beach?

This time around, my sister, mom and I treated ourselves to a Pure Barre class! I loved it and was still sore three days later. Sharing that passion with my sister is such a blessing. When we aren’t doing that, we walk on the beach. Our calves feel it and it’s gorgeous so why go to the gym when you can walk with a view? Swimming in the ocean counts as a work out as well because I was beat every night. I felt refreshed and very active! And our post workout drink always consisted of mimosas 😉 Speaking of drinks, how amazing does this Moscow Mule look from The Craft Bar? Another new spot that we loved getting drinks at late one night! See, those workouts are worth it when you have these yummy treats waiting for you.

When the beach serves as an open space, with no one in the way, you can truly reflect on what really matters. To me, I recognized family is definitely one of those things because one day these vacations won’t be an annual routine. I love our family traditions and daily routines at the beach. We always go to the same restaurants, some casual and some fancy. I eat fish every day at the beach and feel SO good! I don’t do that at home because fish is quite expensive. Along with the fish, I ate a homemade sandwich that my dad always makes and chips! These sandwiches include turkey, one slice of cheese, alfalfa sprouts, fresh tomato, and avocado on rye bread.

This also was the first time I had drinks, chips and everything in between while at the beach. There were times I would get anxious, but I would look around me and see all these people enjoying themselves. Our bodies need so much energy, especially at the beach because we are swimming, walking and soaking in all that Vitamin D! I want to strive to show girls that-

A) You are not alone with these thoughts

B) More importantly, we are made to do amazing things and with that comes using food as our fuel. I always say and mentioned before in my previous post, every set back is a set up for a comeback. 

Spontaneity on vacation is key and a part of that was my diet. I ate plenty of healthy and abundant foods, but I didn’t have my almond milk creamer or gluten free bread. These things will not always be accessible in this perfect mindset we have or life we are trying to achieve, so we have to go with the flow and laugh at the changes. I got really burnt one day so changes sometimes have to be made. No beach for me. I lathered myself in coconut oil and haven’t peeled yet! If anyone asks me what I have in my bag all summer, it is coconut oil.

As we continued this change, Nick and I decided to explore one day and rent bikes to go back to one of our special spots we used to meet at in high school. It’s an amazing moment to return to a spot that holds such a memory in our minds. We biked a total of 6 miles, packed our lunch and made absolutely no plans. I found a new addition to Seaside called Raw and Juicy! This was like whole foods on wheels! I got a superfood parfait bowl, made with cashew based granola, fruit and yogurt made from coconuts. On top was chia, gogi berries, bee polin, and cocoa. It was very similar to my favorite acai bowls; however, I wasn’t a big fan of the cocoa. Dark chocolate and cocoa is GREAT for you and I usually love it. I think it just had too much on it and that’s okay! It was also ironic that the girl who owns the truck knew people we did from Nashville! Small world right? Always engage in conversation with those around you because you can make them smile and you never know who that person will be or what they will show you!

I had someone show me Siggis, the all natural yogurt brand that has amazing reviews. I tried it for the first time and personally did not like it. I am not a fan of whole milk, but I tried it and that is all that matters!

 

Our bike trip ended with my hips hurting, shocker. I had to stop and walk. I got SO frustrated, as I did in the past. Nick stopped and reminded me that our bodies are not perfect. The pain was my body telling me, “hey rest me for a little.” He had to roll me back and I finally smiled because one bad situation can always be turned into a laughing one.

Ladies, find someone in your life who will stop you, pray for you and remind you about what’s good in this world. We are called to share and be lights. Anyone who tries to dim that light doesn’t deserve that special place in your heart that someone will adore one day. 

From sunrise to sunsets, I chose to have a thankful heart for what I have. My tendencies to get in my mind and block out every rational reasoning can take over, but beautiful things are trying to work in your mind. God paints pictures in the sky every day for us to see. There is a reason, just like there is a reason you are on this Earth.

Every night we truly did “adult” by being in bed by 10:00pm and watching the Office. Best. Show. Ever…just saying. Anyway, on our last night, we went out at sunset, a moment I will always remember. Every sunrise and sunset is meant to be seen…

What two lessons did I learn on this vacation?

  1. Don’t take family for granted. No matter what is going on, every person truly cares. Situations occur and mistakes are made, but families are a team. New team members will come aboard, some may stay and some may leave, but seeing my parents smile and watching my sister’s fiance hold her, made my heart so happy.
  2. The big picture. Am I going to remember that bag of chips I ate when I am old and gray? Of course not. I’m going to remember waking up early, sipping on wine with my family and boyfriend at dinner, going on those bike rides to memorable spots from a long time ago. One day I will go back there with my own family and smile, not regret.

Cheers to you and for your summer vacay! LIVE, SHARE, and SHINE!

 

 

Why not?

I have a story that I would like to share that I was told my 8th grade year before entering high school. I don’t know the people in this story but for some reason I have never forgotten it and felt it on my heart to share with you today. Grab a coffee gorgeous and join me as we get away from our world for a little.

It was a big exam day for a class that required extensive studying, knowledge and writing. I forgot what subject it was; nevertheless, it was a hard class. All the students were required to write in a book and after the professor handed out all the writing booklets, he wrote one question on the board. This question said, “Why?” The professor walked right out and said to place their booklets on the desk. Every student in the room started writing pages and pages on this one simple question. Everyone was shocked to see one student turn in their exam within five minutes and walked right out. When everyone got their grades back, there was only one A in the entire class and it happed to be the gentleman who turned in his. All the angry students who wrote for hours and got below average grades asked him what he wrote. He just looked at them and said he wrote, “Why not?”

This story might make you think of the song from the Lizzie Maguire Movie or it might make you sit back for a second and realize that this world doesn’t have to be as complex as we think. Why not travel, eat the entire bag of chips or believe in a happily every after? We live in a world full of checking off boxes and following in the norms of society. The girls on the magazines are skinny so I have to be. That girl is going out, so I need to. These are often thoughts that have gone through my mind and why? Why are we settling for a perspective that is not our own? You are uniquely made into a miraculous human being that someone will fall in love with one day and you will make a difference. Why not do what you love?

A thought that I am trying to engrave within my mind is “why not me?” There are billions of people on this planet who are teachers, doctors, bloggers, writers, etc. Sometimes the thought of me trying something new, whether that’s blogging, travelling, or writing, can be scary because there are so many people doing that already who have made careers off of it. I have made this point before but God serves to place little reminders in each day to focus on what truly is important.

I believe that God puts certain desires on our hearts for a reason. There is a reason people wake up and want to do something. If we all had the same desires and goals on our hearts then our Earth wouldn’t be different. There would be no point in exploring new things or meeting new people because we would all be the same. If you woke up today wanting to try something new, go for it!

I am currently at the beach, my favorite place ever, with my family and Nick. I’m currently in a local coffee shop sipping on my iced almond milk latte with Nick and our friend. We have walked, brunched and talked for over an hour and it’s been such a refresher. I like to call the beach my workshop because my mind feels so open and free. Open to new ideas and free from any worry. I am beginning to look at where I want my life to go and can’t let the question “why” deter me from chasing a dream, a happy ever after or a goal to eat and feel better each and every day. What is your reason for saying anything except “why not?”

Today was a beautiful day. A day to live! I put on my pink swimsuit, walked on the beach, ate a donut, had more mimosas than planned and am smiling so large at God’s painting we get to call our home. Live beautifully! I’m cheering for you.

May Munchies//Friday Fashion

Happy Friday! After my latest post on our relationship with eating, lets get to the fun part of discussing food and show you some of my fashion finds for this summer! I am back in Nashville about to start my Senior year. I can’t believe it! This picture below is me after my final exam…can you sense my excitement?

I hope you are excited for this summer season and that you indulge in everything sweet and wonderful! I have already tried some amazing places you HAVE to try, but before I get started on that goodness, lets start with my new favorite find from Trader Joe’s that I can make at home.

| TRADER JOES PUMPERNICKEL ALMOND/AVOCADO TOAST |  

This piece of bread is from heaven. It is a whole grain, rye bread. Some breads with gluten hurt my stomach, but I have found that this one works well with me! I toasted it then put MaraNatha no stir almond butter on one slice and then fresh avocado with sea salt and pepper on the other. It was the perfect amount of filling that I needed and could eat this every day. Check out this article from Trader Joe’s website about their rye bread!

| DALTS HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES |

This weather has been so hot! Nick and I were driving back from Bowling Green and decided to randomly stop for a milkshake at Dalts Grill located on White Bridge Road. This milkshake was the best one I have had in a long time! I haven’t sat down to have a classic milkshake in so long and I ate the entire thing. I felt like I was at my grandma’s house because it tasted so homemade I could have had two. Nick did! We sat up at the bar and shared some good conversations without phones while sipping from these old fashioned glasses. It the perfect way to pause on a hot summer day. If you want to splurge on ice-cream, I recommend trying something new and not going to get a tub from the grocery store. Go to a random diner instead! The atmosphere in addition to the chocolate syrup and vanilla ice-cream goodness was the best part of my day!

|  HOME COOKED MEAL |  

For dinner, my childhood best friend invited me over for a home cooked meal and we had the best time! She is the type of person where I don’t have to see her for months, but then we pick up right where we left off. We laughed and talked over a bottle of red wine for hours. These are lifelong friendships that I will always cherish no matter where I go.

She made a vegetarian meal that consisted of marinated mushrooms cooked with seasoned potatoes in a pot full of all the natural juices and spices! Wow, it melted in my mouth. We then cut fresh tomatoes, onions and avocado to place on top of our mushroom. The best part was we toasted bread that was fresh from the Frothy Monkey with amish butter. Everything was so pure and locally picked out that I can’t wait to get the full recipe from her. She experiments all the time in the kitchen and has inspired me to see what magical tastes I can create as well!

I was lucky to enough to get two home cooked meals this week. Before a Josh Turner concert, I walked in to find Nick cooking dinner, blasting country music and holding a red glass of wine that I thoroughly enjoyed. The dish was from Fresh Boxes. This company is SO cool and I encourage you guys to visit the website. They deliver pre-packacegd meals with all the ingredients and directions so you can cook a meal every night at home without going to the grocery store to get any forgotten items. We had a pasta dish made with noodles, tomatoes sauce, spinach and a little cheese. We limited the cheese due to both of us being sensitive to lactose. I never eat pasta but sometimes a bowl of pasta if all a girl needs!

| MIEL NASHVILLE | 

Photo from: http://www.restaurant-nashvilletn.com

Last but not least, if you are looking for a place to dine out, I highly recommend this new place I tried called Miel. Located on 53rd Avenue North, this small building houses some of the best food. I had marinated olives with a mushroom risotto! I eat meat, but I don’t often, so I have found myself replacing a lot of that meat with veggies, especially mushrooms as you can see.

 This place is formal with a high-end atmosphere. The staff was amazing and the owner personally came to our table and offered samples of a quiche made without the crust. I loved it! I can’t wait to go back there for a special occasion. Check out Nashville Guru for more info!

Check out some more of my home cooked and dining out go-tos that I have been munching on during May!

What have you munched on this May?

EXPLORE | DINE | ENJOY 

Before we go, when I go out to get food, I love to dress for the season!  Below are two of my favorite finds that a few people have asked where I have gotten them…neutrals and florals are my absolute favorite this summer! Free People and American Eagle should be on your shopping list this week! What are your favorites?

Meet OliveandHoney XOG: Vintage Denim Short Line

“Without confidence, nothing will be done. Be confident and know what you’re capable. You’re a boss.” – Olivia Goff 

Hello gorgeous! What a crazy week it has been. With only one more week of class, being a college student, friend, coworker, sibling, and everything else in between can be hard. Juggling being there for each and every person can be stressful because if you are like me, you want to be everyone for everyone. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, it’s best to pause and help out someone you care about and that is what I am here to bring you today!

Everyone meet Olivia Goff! I have blogged about her blogging before, but she has pursued her passion to now create and sell her new vintage denim short line for this spring and summer. I had the pleasure of helping her launch her new account for her AMAZING shorts. Keep reading for an interview she shared with me on how Olive and Honey XOG shorts began:

 

 

(HK) Where did you get the idea to make denim shorts?

(OG) I got the idea to redesign vintage clothing by going through my dads closet after I lost him. I saw so many pieces that could be recreated into fabulous pieces. I wear a lot of his clothes and make them a lot cuter than they were in the beginning. It’s a way for me to always have him with me. I love that the idea of this line of clothing came from him.

(HK) What are your goals for this line?

(OG) I want every person to feel comfortable in each piece. I really try to find the best fit for each person to keep my line very personal. I want every person to feel confident which is why I recommend each person to try on each piece before purchasing. I want confidence to be boosted while wearing pieces from my line.

As she said earlier, “Without confidence, nothing will be done. Be confident and know what you’re capable. You’re a boss.” I LOVE her passion and pursuit to help women feel beautiful in no matter what they wear. She works on every single customer so that they get exactly what they want. I tried on a pair that made me feel wonderful! I did not want to take them off.

She has a story with good and hard chapters in it but don’t we all? She has transformed her heart and mind to turn a passion into a hobby. You never know where your heart can take you! With that being said, feel beautiful and contact her today via her new account, oliveandhoneyxog.

XO, LIVE BEAUTIFULLY 

 

Reaching Out: The Core to Every Journey

Happy Sunday gorgeous! Wow. God is working in so many ways and it’s evident how much He loves on each and every one of you. Thank you again for reading and sharing my answered prayer story as I try to figure out life just like you. Today, I realized that the core to every journey starts with a reach. Stretching your arms out to someone or something new. The reason I am here today is not because I sit and expect people to invest in me. No, I sit and I read other people’s stories and reach out to them because I want to get to know them. I want to learn as much as I can because we don’t know if we will get tomorrow. God places people in your life for a reason to help guide you. It’s just up to you to step out sometimes and find them. You have to be the one to make the reach. You.

If you didn’t see my Instagram story last night, I decided to take a night for myself by indulging in sushi, dark chocolate and hot herbal teas. I used a new facial scrub to knock out all those impurities off the face, followed by an overnight facial mask by Origins and then Rosemary essential oils to top it all off! I needed to give my face a good detox because I wore more makeup than usual with all my events this weekend! I try not to load makeup on my face because staying natural is so healthy and simply beautiful. If someone hasn’t told you today… You. Are. Beautiful.

This wasn’t my first spa night this week. I always strive to have nights like this to myself in order to check in on myself within such a busy schedule. A few nights ago I poured myself a glass of wine {some lovely Pinot}, Face timed Rachel and Nick for a long time, just laughing with them for at least two hours. Every relaxing night to myself requires acoustic music to allow me to just reflect with a thankful heart on the conversations I’ve gotten to have recently with people, old and new! I realized that by reaching out to others and being reached out to by you amazing readers, we are all on different paths; however, we are all trying to reach the same destination. I have certain goals in my life but how do I reach them? How have others succeeded and reached out to so many people? Well let me tell you how I’m trying to figure that out. I just ask them.

The majority of times within my spa nights consist of taking risks by starting conversations with complete strangers and reaching out to introduce myself. How else are we going to share our story? Everyone needs help and you never know what someone can do for you or you can do for them! This applies to any stage of life: high school, college, graduates, etc. If you want to make new friends, you have to step out of your comfort zone to meet people and engage in conversation. If you want that internship, call them and show up at their office with a passionate interest. If you want to know how someone became so talented. Ask.

I have reached out to numerous organizations, bloggers, photographers and just random people. I don’t do this to expect anything in return. I do this because you would be surprised how similar you can be with a complete stranger, especially if you share the same interests. With that being said, my most recent photo shoot began with me randomly messaging this photographer who I thought was SO talented to ask how he started. He started with taking pictures of the sunrise and now he takes portrait shots with so many amazing people. He asked me to do a shoot and it was one of the best memories I have in Bowling Green! He looked at me and said I was so goofy and that is 100% accurate. I goofed around all day, broke a shoe and blasted my 60’s music because why not? We found this man who owned this old bug and he let us see it and play around with it. What a fun way to explore! Go check out his Instagram account and my gallery below of some of my favorite shots!

Sunglasses: Tory Burch
Dress: American Apparel
Shoes: Steve Madden

What step did I take this week? I am in the process of applying to be a member in the Nashville Blogging Collective as I prepare to go home to Nashville this summer. Most people don’t mention these things until after they have received it but nope, not me. I was told a few years ago that we are called to worship with groups of people, that’s why we have Sunday church. This applies to this as well because by working with groups of people, who knows the impact we can make in our community! I’m so excited because after reaching out, they responded and told me to attend their workshop hosted by Author and blogger, Laura Lynn. I love what this organization stands for. One of their most recent posts read,

“How is your post adding value to their life?”

I knew I would love this because the first thing I saw walking up the stairs to the meeting room was a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,

“Take the first step of faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” 

I attended this yesterday afternoon and did love every moment! I learned so much and advise everyone to go and visit Laura’s blog, Breezy and Brazen. We talked not just about the building blocks of creating content and blogging, but why we do what we do. We all shared the same interests and by engaging in this organization, I hope to invest in other bloggers, support their journey and help share their voice.

Value and voice. These two words stand for and can do so much. I get so excited when people respond to me when I reach out. That is why I always strive to respond to each one of you! I can’t wait to meet so many people who are using their voice. How are you using yours?

Your voice is so beautifully heard so reach out today! Message someone because you just might end up dancing around town or joining a new organization. Let’s start living!

| Photography: @vscodey |

4.16.17 My Answered Prayer

April 16, 2017 at 5:15pm God answered me.

This will make some people pause, some might question and some might rejoice. I fell to my knees and cried out thank you four days ago because my prayer was answered this past Sunday.

Hi gorgeous and welcome! Thank you for reading with me today as I continue my blogging story. Today I want to share with you the biggest chapter yet.

I love to go on walks, as you know. On this Easter Sunday, I had just slept a ton, eaten a bunch and went to a church service that was so beautiful, I got goose bumps. It was different than my regular cozy Sunday morning. It was Jesus’s resurrection day, a day of renewal and hope. I never dreamed that on this day my heart would be resurrected as well.

Around 4:30pm I decided to finally go on that walk I mentioned earlier. My mom was suppose to go with me but then decided not to and I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t grab my earphones because I wanted to just listen to my music out loud on this gorgeous day. I power walked all the way down to my usual spot, a small park in my neighborhood. The only people at my special little spot were an old man and I assumed his young grandson, who was learning how to ride a bike. I usually walk four laps because that makes one mile. I continued to walk, switching from my country music to my Praise playlist on Spotify because sometimes I feel that I connect most with Him when listening to music. I’ve always been this way. From dance, to studying to driving, I love the power music has. Anyway, You Make Me Brave by Amanda Cook came on. I tend to listen to this song when thing’s get to be on my mind and I just get lost in the clouds. I am actually listening to this song right now as I sit at my desk and write this. I’ve been attempting to write this since the beginning of the week so there really are no words.

I haven’t forgotten about this precious little boy who probably had the best manners ever. This little four year old could talk to me better than any adult and always let me walk in front of him as he sped up to meet his grandpa. As we both got closer to his grandpa, a cute man in a bright blue polo sitting on a bench, I was lost in the clouds until he started a conversation with me that forever changed me…

Without a hello I heard,

“You are artistic.”

Confused, I paused and said,

“Excuse me?”

He repeated himself and just looked at me so comfortably and for some reason I just paused as he continued to say,

“I can tell. Do you like to write? Do you sketch or draw? You listen to music a lot don’t you?”

As he poured out these questions I forced a smile out of my confused face and told him why yes I do, I blog and love music and writing.

He nodded his head some more and then told me,

“I advise you to go somewhere, like this park, by yourself without distractions and just write. See what you can do.”

I kept nodding my head until he broke the silence with the question,

“You have a sister, right?”

I said yes and asked if he knew my family. He continued and said no. Without hesitation he looked up at me and said,

“You are worried.”

I didn’t know what to say or do. I know I am a worrier, because I care. I can’t tell you how many times I have written in my journal that I need to stop worrying and trust God. I just can’t because what if this bad thing will happen or what if I do this or that? For the past year this has been at the top of my prayer list because by worrying, I don’t trust God’s grasp on my life. The real question was how, how did this stranger know this?

“Your mom, you are worried about her. She is struggling with something and you don’t know what to do.”

Some background for you- my mom’s dad is sick with cancer and when I found out he wasn’t doing well, I didn’t get sad for him because I knew he would be painless in heaven no matter the outcome, but I got in instant worry mode about my mom. What would a loss like that do to her? I love her so much and was scared at the repercussions of such trauma. No family is perfect, I’ve learned that but I have worries of my own and I’m sure you do too….

He looked up to me and continued to point out things that only people in my family could know. There was no possible way he knew the things he did. I kept asking if he knew my parents or lived in this neighborhood in order to make sense of this, but he just smiled and said no.

“Keep showing her love. Your prayers are being heard and she is in God’s hands. One day you will hold her hand and pray with her, just you two. You no longer can worry about your mom.”

Tears started to well in my eyes as he continued,

“God works in mysterious ways. I have never been to this park before but He sent me here today to talk to you. He has placed mental images in my mind.”

My breath stopped.

“You went on a drive for I’d say about 10-15 minutes, right? You prayed out for a sign and encouragement. Here is your sign, here is your encouragement.”

With my eyes widening mumbling to him how he knew this, I looked back on last week as I drove around Bowling Green screaming out to God to give me a sign. Give me some encouragement. Is my writing on this blog fulfilling your plans for me? Am I making a difference? What’s going to happen? HOW DID HE KNOW THIS. I knew right then as a tear fell down my face that I was having a conversation with God.

“You are trying to be a light in this world, I can tell when you walked. Don’t stop. Keep trying to shine God’s light. I want you to read Psalm 34.”

Last week I wrote on my blog, “Be that light”…He then made me open up this verse and he told me to go home and read it.

As I searched my phone for this bible verse, my fingers shaking at what was happening, he added on something that only the listener of my prayers could know…

“You are seeing someone. A boy?”

Looking up from my phone I locked eyes with him.

“He is driving like 60 mph down the road.”

Nick was driving back to South Carolina…

He smiled as I stood in total shock. He said one sentence from a conversation that only Nick and I have had and he told me it is okay. He told me that God is watching him and that it is okay. My relationship with him started over 10 years ago. I’ve prayed for him then, now and will continue to. I can’t control anyone’s faith journey but my own and God reassured me that He has him and I need to let go of worry.

As he sat gripping my right hand so tight I got control enough to ask him to tell me his name. His name was Tim. I repeated his name back and he did mine as well. We ended up our conversation by him saying,

“Today is Easter, a day of resurrection and renewal. Your heart is resurrected today. You are no longer bound to the chains of worry. Trust God. Your parents let you go when you were little right? You trusted them.” He squeezed my hand one last time and said, “You can let go.”

I released my hand from His and a page in my journal popped in my head that said, Let Go(d).

Tim, if you are reading this, thank you. God used you and I will forever remember your message. I prayed for a sign and God answered me. Below is Psalm 34, a verse that my heart will rest on as I move forward in life and continue to write my story. From this day, I have prayed with people that I never had before and feel God smiling. HE HEARS YOU. He spoke to me through Tim and he told me God might cross our paths again one day but I will never know. The power of prayer is real. Lift your worries up to God because He is asking for them! He died for our sins and has chosen to carry those for us. I trust Him with every ounce of me and I promised right then to try to shine light in any darkness our world throws our way.

If this message gave you some hope today, share it, reread it or contact me because you know I love talking and coffee dates. I reread Psalm 34 every singe morning and below I have it written out for you to read. SHINE, PRAY AND TRUST. He is listening and loves you. Thank you for reading with me today.

 | Psalm 34 | 

1
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
2
My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3
Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.
4
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
5
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
6
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
7
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
8
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9
Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.
10
The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
13
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
14
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
15
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16
the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
20
he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
21
Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22
The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

Photographer: @vscodey

Weekly Recap: Your Present Moment Relationship

“A vital question to ask yourself frequently is what is my relationship to the present moment?” – Eckhart Tolle 

It is finally feeling like Spring! My energy is rising, i’m getting so excited for Summer and Easter is right around the corner. I love Easter because it is such an uplifting time spent with family to recognize the beautiful resurrection of Jesus. I hope that everyone is feeling light hearted, peaceful and are present in the moment.

This week I have been trying to capture and feel those moments. Embracing the sun when it’s out, looking out at the rain when it pours and living in the moment.

My week started out by going to the farmers market Saturday morning. I bought a Grande Dark Roast coffee from Starbucks then brought my new favorite coffee creamer in my purse…BYOC: Bring Your Own Creamer! You should try it because I only spent $2.00 and had myself a yummy latte. What can I say, I’m a college kid.

From there we went to find some veggies and flowers, but sadly we were too late. You think i’m an early riser, think again. You have to get to the market super early to get all the goodies! I still found myself an organically, homegrown charcoal face soap. I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet but if you use it up to three times a week, it pulls all of those impurities from your face leaving it clean, healthy and acne free! I can’t wait to try!

We market hopped for a while until I realized that my Rewind candle ran out and I have to have a candle before my week started, so I went to TJ Maxx and found this angel for only $5.99! It smells like my favorite Anthro smelling Volcano candle. I’ve lit it every day!

This weather this week has been crazy with rain one moment then sunny the next. Regardless the weather I have tried to make it to my outdoor porch at least once a day with my hot or iced almond milk lattes! Just those moments make living in the present moment that much better. I have continued making my overnight oats and meal prepped veggies this week.

Below, I made a spinach salad with blue cheese crumbles, nuts, grilled chicken and dried fruit. YUM. I actually bought a little salad kit and it’s quick and yummy with all the ingredients at hand.

I want to end this recap post with another encouragement for you to live in the moment. Living in the moment doesn’t have to be an exhilarating act of jumping out of a plane or making a rash decision. It can be sitting outside by yourself on the porch. It can be talking to all the vendors at a market early on the weekend. It can be anything you want it to be and that’s the beauty in it! Your time is yours. For example, I had a big test, but instead of worrying about it and being confident in what I knew, I went and grabbed a new flavor of Kombucha, Lavender Love, and sat myself in an Eno. There was nothing better and I felt like I did really well on my test! We aren’t guaranteed the next day or heck the next hour. With that being said…

How will you spend the rest of your week? 

Pumpkin Spice, Almond and Blueberry Overnight Oats!

Rise and Shine!

Today is such a gift, rain or shine. I am continuing my cooking adventure this week and hope that you are trying something new! Next week I might be trying something  completely new I can only live in the present moment and with that I plan on giving it all I got.

In order to do everything the best I can I have to fuel my heart and mind. I don’t know about you, but I always wake up hungry. I wake up and get excited to pour my cup of coffee and have breakfast, my favorite meal of the day; however, sometimes the process of making the food just ruins it all. This week I decided to prepare overnight oats to have and love this! I will definitely keep making this for future breakfasts or even snacks!

Ingredients: 

1/2 Cup Steel Cut Oats

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 Cup Blueberries

1 tbs Chia Seeds

1 tbs Raw Honey

1 tbs Pumpkin Spice

1 Spoon full Raw Almond Butter Unsalted

I had half of these ingredients in my pantry already so everything is accessible. I combined all the ingredients in a mason jar, placed in fridge overnight and mixed up this morning for an awesome breakfast!

For those who are specific about textures, steel cut oats make it less gooey and have more texture.

I can’t wait to try out new flavors because honestly there is no particular way to make this. Just measure accordingly, throw yummy things in a jar and bam you have a freaking good meal. Now it’s your turn!

What are your favorite recipes in the morning? 

What is your adventure? 

ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

One year ago I opened my blog! I can’t believe it has been 365 days from when I decided to make a change and start sharing ways to live beautifully, abundantly and healthy because YOU are worth it.

On this day last year I wrote,

“This week I took a step of faith and finally opened my blog. I was not expecting this much support from friends, family and even strangers. I am so happy I feel the Lord calling me to do works and I fully trust Him. I don’t want the social media aspect to consume me, but the Lord knows my thoughts.”

I then wrote down Mathew 11:28-30:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me…you WILL find rest for your soul.”

Open up something new today and read, write, explore, and be the best version of yourself! You are so loved. Thank you for always helping me read and share!