2015 Through My iPhone

Am I the only one who gets emotional watching all the sappy end of the year montages on TV?

Each year at the same time, everyone starts reflecting on the past year and all the events that have happened.

The accomplishements
The loses
The wonderful
The tragic

Everything summed up nice and neat in a 5-7 minute video clip.

Watching one this evening, got me feeling nostalgic myself.  I started thinking about 2015 and all that happened and  all I had experienced.

As I was remembering specific events,I grabbed my iPhone to look at some of the memories captured this past year, and it quickly dawned on me that I had my own yearly montage.

2015 has been filled with many adventurous memories.

I have learned:

1.  That God is far from finished with me.  He has BIG plans for me and I can’t wait to see what they are!
2. I am stronger then I think
3. Forgiveness is freeing
4. People will think what they want about me, and I am ok with that.
5. Blessings don’t always come in big flashy packages

 Not everything has been sunshine and roses this past year. There was some disappointments and heartbreak, but there was also a lot of love, laughs, and adventure.

How perfect that my iPhone could make my own year end review.  🙂

Here is my 2015 as seen through my iPhone

It rang in with lots of promise with my favorite people

Hello 2015

 

Right off the bat 2015 hit me fast and hard when I turned the BIG 40 just 25 days into the new year.  My sister threw me a totally awesome retro surprise party at the local Bowling alley with all my favorite people. The love I felt sending me into my 40th year was humbling and overwhelming.

Hello 40!

 

The end of Jan/Feb brought my two favorite yearly events: The Rodeo and Demolition Derby.  Yep, I’m a redneck folks!  Don’t judge until you have been to either of these events. These events are back to back weekends, and we keep our calendar clear all year for them.  We laugh hard, and forget the stresses of the outside world. We yell, scream, and cheer, and maybe get a little wild.  One day I am going to rope me a good looking cowboy, or at the very least a hottie demolition driver not named Bubba.

February brought the snow.  I HATE snow.  For three solid weeks we had the white stuff constantly coming down.  For those of you who are new here… I live in the SOUTH.  We don’t do snow.

   

March started cold and rough, but soon brought in warm weather, Girl Scout Cookies, Peeps, and a surprise party for our favorite Park Ranger.

The month of April was the University of Tennessee’s Spring Orange and White game. I was BEYOND thrilled to be in Neyland Stadium breathing the same air as Peyton Manning.  It was a fun day…. even if we just missed the cut off for getting on the field to meet Coach Jones and the players.  We were told it was supposed to rain all day…. like end of the world monsoon rains. I ended up with a sunburn.  Good times.  We are going to make Taylor a football fan yet!

May was warm and filled with a Mother’s Day cookout, my favorite BBQ, a fun night out with my Mom and her besties, and a knitting lesson that still hasn’t produced anything.

June came in hot and humid! We celebrated Mom’s birthday in the Chimney’s, Ellie hung out with her Aunt Lauren and Charleston, I ate lots of fresh veggies, my favorite restaurant closed without telling me, and Cucumber Melon made it’s glorious return to Bath and Body works!

July was especially busy and fun.  There was our annual July 4th celebration, lunch with Lauren, a hopeful text from mom, LOTS of Dunkin Iced coffee, tears watching our recruitment center being guarded, and the Swon Brothers!

August was long walks by the lake in the evenings, eating donuts the size of my face, my BFF turning the Big 4-0, Family fun at Panther Creek, and the beginning of my hat modeling.

September had low country boils, lazy days laying in the grass, evenings on the lake, campfires, and Greek Fest!

October finally brought cooler weather, Apples galore,  Fall festivals, hay rides, beautiful colored trees, fun hikes with friends, and Halloween!

November began with it being  dark at 5pm, going on epic hikes with friends in 20 degree weather and gale force winds, finding the old hiker’s tunnel and checking it off my bucket list, fun outings with my fur baby, Thanksgiving at Sarah, and Aaron’s, and hiking part of the AT.

December had my favorite day in it, Free Hot Fudge cake day! There were Christmas trees, Christmas shirts, Star Wars, a second PAL’S, crocheted socks, lots of presents, dolls from Santa, and my beautiful baby in front of a tree.

Of course my favorite pictures by far are the ones of me and Ellie! She is my faithful and loyal companion, BEST friend, snuggle buddy, entertainment, and all around cutie. God knew I needed her, and that she needed me. This year I have slowly noticed she is showing her age of 13 years. While I makes me sad, I am grateful for her love each and every day! She has taught me to live each day to the fullest, that walks are mandatory, and naps are always needed.

So there you have it… my 2015 as captured by my iPhone.  Each person, event, and place captured are my greatest blessings.  Sometimes I feel like George Baily in It’s A Wonderful Life. Life gets to me and I get discouraged, but then I look at these wonderful memories and I realize the phrase at the end of that movie rings so true….

My cup runneth over with so many blessings. Thank you 2015, and here is to 2016 and all the possibilities that lie ahead!

Happy New Year!!!!!!

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Fa la la la UGHHHH

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year……” 

BAH HUMBUG!!!!

 

It is here once again. The dreaded Christmas season.

Now before you get all judgmental and start calling me names like Scrooge, and Grinch hear me out.

I LOVE the reason for the season.

The Virgin
The angel’s announcement
The Angelic host
The Shepherds
The Star
The Wisemen
The manger
The Baby
The Messiah

I HATE what it has become.

Spending money you don’t have
Stress
Rushed and hurried
Pushing
Shoving
Rudeness

Each year I find myself becoming more and more bitter and cynical towards the season.  Just like Cindy Lou Whoo in the movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I am left standing looking out at the world and screaming,

Where Are You Christmas?!?!?!?!?!??

Where did we go wrong with the true meaning?  When did I grow so cynical and cranky about the holidays?

Hard as I try…. I just can’t be jolly.

The time of year when there is supposed to be peace and goodwill, is the time I feel most bitter, anxious, and sad.

My decorations seem gaudy and weak compared to some…. Why is decorating always a contest? Does it really matter that my tree is 4ft tall, I don’t have 10,000 strands of lights blinking, and my house is not filled with fresh pine or homemade decorations I saw on Pintrest?

I ALWAYS receive way more then I can physically give. It absolutely kills me that friends and family are so generous.  I wish I could indulge and shower all my loved ones with the things they desire and deserve.  Sadly I can’t and all too often I feel like my meager gifts are unintentionally  judged or tossed aside.

The hustle and bustle exhausts and frustrates me and comes close to pushing me over the edge of my sanity.  This past weekend I went shopping and wanted desperately to clamp down on a cyanide tablet to put myself out of the misery.  People are rude and pushy, and that in turn makes me rude and pushy. I HATE that, because I am not a rude and pushy person.  People rush to make sure that they are the first to get out Christmas cards, and Christmas letters.  I love receiving them and reading them, but seriously… where do you find the time or the energy?!?!?!?!

Even the Hallmark movies frustrate me.  Just once I would like to see a realistic ending….  The girl and guy don’t always get together, the family is FAR from perfect, and how about ditching the snow!  Don’t get me wrong, I fall right into their trap and get sucked in each time I see one, but come on!  At least throw in an ugly sweater somewhere in one of those movies, and maybe a guy who could lose 10 lbs. and a gal with some frizz in her hair.

The whole commercialism of the season makes me dizzy.

Buy now, pay later.
Buy early, save more.
Give more, so you can be given more.
Take care of the old and needy, cause this is the time of year it matters.

INSANITY!

My attitude pretty much was crappy…. until yesterday.

Over the weekend I found a cd my family loved at Christmas each year.

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Nostalgia took over and I quickly purchased the CD and couldn’t wait to get to the car to pop it in.

Oh the memories! My mother, sister, and I would listen to this for hours as we drove to our various activities and outings. We sang along just like we were Sandi Patti herself.  Within seconds of placing it in the cd player I was quickly transported back to 1984… Good times!

As I listened to each song, my heart became more full. Then suddenly, without warning, a song came on that I was very familiar with, but had totally forgotten was on this particular album.  As I listened to the words of Bethlehem Morning I suddenly became convicted about my attitude.

Bethlehem morning
Is more then just a memory
For the child who was born there
Has come to set us free
Bethlehem sunrise
I can see it in your eyes.
For the child that was born there
His spirit NEVER dies

It is the next few lines of the song that after 30 years I actually heard and let sink in for the very first time.

His star will never,
Will NEVER grow dim
And it’s a brand new dawn
A new Jerusalem
And we, and we will reign
We will reign with Him
For the Child that was born there,
Is the King of Kings
And Lord of Lords,
And He will come again.

Christmas, no matter how we as a society stray from it’s truth, will NEVER lose it’s meaning. The star that shined on that night and into that first morning, still shines bright today. We try to dim it with all of the hustle and bustle, but it is STILL there.

HE is STILL here.

The baby. Born as a gift from God. A gift that would live and give FOREVER. A gift that would save man from not just from the world, but from himself.

Even though I may become disenchanted with the Christmas of this day, it hasn’t gone anywhere. My attitude should not be one of frustration, or bitterness.  But rather JOY, and EXILERATION!

I have a Savior! His name is JESUS!

Regardless of what you believe or do not believe, His birth CANNOT be refuted.

His star will NEVER grow dim.

The problem lies within me.

I CHOSE to become bitter.
I CHOSE to let the madness and chaos of the season distract me.
I CHOSE to harden my heart to the joy of the season.
I CHOSE to make it about ME.

Christmas hasn’t gone anywhere…it is STILL here.

I spent so much time being angry with others for not remembering the true meaning, that I took my eyes off the Star myself, and stopped searching for the manger and the baby laying within it.

So friends…. once again this writer has been humbled and had her perspective changed.

Christmas is a celebration alright, but not the kind the world tells me it is. No. It is the celebration of God’s PERFECT gift.

It is up to me to fully accept His gift, and to celebrate it.

Isn’t it wonderful when the clouds are lifted and the Star shines bright?

Please treat yourself to Sandi Patti below…. Merry Christmas!

Beautifully Flawed

 

So the Question is: “What is your Worst quality?”

I smile, and think, “Just one?”

I am constantly late.
I never follow through.
I am horrible at making decisions.
I often make bad decisions.
I live off French fries, cheese, and cereal.
I love too hard.
I cry too much when I don’t need to.
I don’t cry enough when I should.

I trust when I should run.
I speak when I should be silent.
And I am silent when I should speak up.

You may see my list and see imperfections, flaws, and imbalance.

However, when I look at my list of “Flaws” I smile….

I am reminded through each imperfection and weakness, that I am not perfect, but the One who created me is. We are not called to be perfect, but to love the Flawless one.

When I am the darkest, He is light.
When I am ugly, His beautiful radiates and I am reminded, I am made in His image.
When I am weak, He is all the strength I need.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Cor. 12:9

Does my car lose it’s worth to me if it has a few scratches? Do I toss out my favorite shoes or jeans because they are  a little worn?

Nope.

Our flaws don’t diminish our value or our worth. They give us character, experience, and a reminder that we have a perfect God who loves us no matter what.

So friend, let us lot dwell and worry about our flaws and imperfections.  Instead, let us focus on the one who loves us no matter how fat , how lazy, how screwed up we are.

 
Flawed

Someday

Have you ever gotten an idea stuck in your head and no matter what you do, You just can’t shake it?

I’m talking about 24/7, full time, nothing satisfies, your friends and family are ready to kill you because it all you talk about, obsession.

Surely you know what I am talking about. Continue reading