the direction of words

prayer-for-hope1In the chaos of everyday life and local and global injustice, prayer is oftentimes seen as the “least we can do.” In this great time of need for our country, world, and selves, let’s seek to see prayer as the answer. Let us stop trying to fix ourselves and lean on God’s divine power to give us hope and change our hearts.

Personally, I’ve used prayer too infrequently, but when I am truly diligent in prayer and communication with the Lord, life changes. Here’s the truth: the Lord answers all prayers, and there is comfort in that. Sometimes his answers look different than what we ask for, but we can be assured that the Lord hears and answers our prayer in line with His will (1 John 5:14).

Let us join together in prayer for our world, our nation, our family and friends. Let’s go to the Lord before we correct and rebuke on Facebook and via tweets. Let us check our own hearts and find where our hope comes from before we seek to change others. Then let us pray for others ask enthusiastically as we gossip about them. What power there is in prayer. It’s more than empty words–the words of prayer have the power to move the kingdom of heaven to action and defeat sin and death. Let us stop underestimating the power of words directed towards Heaven and redirect our worldly words upwards.

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How to Make the Most of Your Summer

For years I’ve started summer goals (as opposed to new year’s resolutions, which I never keep). The benefit of starting goals in the summer for me has always been the extra time lying around. This is especially true for students, teachers, etc. who enjoy summers off. So the best way to make the most of your summer involves goals, planning, and structure. While this sounds counterintuitive to the lazy days of summer, just go with me here.  Here’s what’s involved in my summer goals/plans:

Summer Bucket List 2016

So, set a few goals–things you’ve put off during the school year. Add in some fun things that you’ve always wanted to do, but never found the time (aka, make pickles). And don’t forget to add in special events that happen throughout the summer. Build your summer around those events!

So, what are your goals and plans for summer 2016? I have a feeling it’s gonna be a good one.

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be joyful in hope

Thoughts swirl fiercely through my mind & confining them to words, sentences, and paragraphs seems impossible. Let’s try, shall we?

  • Four days…the culmination of a life of learning. The culmination, and yet, the beginning.
  • Four weeks…transitioning back to Georgia. Increased time with family. Reconnecting with old friends. Promising new friendships.
  • A new level of stability, which brings optimism for increased growth in areas of uncertainty.
  • Joyful in hope

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  • A promising job lead for Case! Never have I seen a prayer request answered so quickly.
  • Thankful for this season of ‘away-ness’ that’s coming to an end. Ready for home base.
  • That feeling you get when puzzle pieces start falling into place, but you still can’t make out the whole picture yet. Thrilled, hopeful, eager.
  • For the first time in a long time, looking to the future and actually seeing just that–a future.

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“…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

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what’s next

After 20+ years, it’s finally coming to a close. I’m ready! Graduation is so close I can taste it. I’ve been too busy to get excited…until now. I am there.  21 years of school is no small feat. I have watched friends graduate, start jobs & make real money, start families, and move beyond the classroom. I’m ready for that. (Just wait, soon I will want to go back to school, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.) I’m just thankful that for the time being, this chapter of my life is coming to a close.  It’s time to take everything I’ve learned and give back to the community.

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So what’s next? Graduation is in a few short weeks. I will wrap up my internship here in South Carolina. Then we’re moving home & I’m becoming a school psychologist in the fall. I’m interested to see how things go, as I’ll be working in the school district I grew up in. Overall, we are just excited and blessed for the opportunity to be close to family and do the work we love.

Graduating classes of ’09, ’12/’13, and ’16, here’s to you. To all the AP courses you took and the clubs you joined in order to get into a good college. To all the nights of cramming hours studying and writing papers to get into your dream grad school. To the days you thought you’d die from all the work and the nights that made you feel alive. This is it. We’ve made it.

future is now

finishing up internship

passed the exam to become a school psychologist

secured a job

we’re moving back home!

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The best part of this journey, from CHS to Mercer and Baylor to Cola SC, is knowing that I could go anywhere from here and being able to choose to go home.

Let’s take a look back to 18-year-old me (ahem, almost 7 years ago now) and ask her where she wanted to go. 3 hours–that’s how far the farthest college she applied to was from home. 1.5 hours–that’s how far she moved from home. Then HALFWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY. It’s time. It’s time to go home. to watch softball games. to share Sunday lunches with families. to finally balance family, fun, and work.
How much stress do you think 20 years of school is for an A-type personality, perfectionist?! I’ve spent years pursuing my dreams, and now it’s time to LIVE them. Enjoy the moment. Treasure my marriage. Spend more time with my family. Do good work in my job. Stress less, love more.

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We have been so SO blessed, even in the toughest of tough times. This year has been by far one of the hardest of my life, and I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be here now without the love and support of my families and friends. There has been a lot of heartache this year. Family illness. Students passing away. Shootings. Social injustice. International warfare. I don’t know if it’s that I become more aware as I grow older or if things are growing worse and worse. Regardless, it has taken a toll on my heart. At the same time, there is so much joy in watching nieces, nephews, and cousins grow; friends building houses; new jobs; celebrating new marriages. Balance. Seeking balance. & thanking the Lord for providing that at home.

Thank you for sharing in this journey with us. Continue to pray for our marriage and health. We are overjoyed to share this news with you and thankful for you joining in our celebration!

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help us make our house warm

celebrating a year

Have you met me? Have you met my husband? Have you seen us together?

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cute, right?

What thoughts come to your mind when you start silently answering those questions while staring at your computer (phone?) screen?

Well, I hate to ruin the picture-perfect, fairytale image you have in your head (ha!), but chances are pretty good that we’ve both changed in our past year of marriage. To celebrate 365 days of marriage, I bring you a post on Case & Jess’s lessons from married life.  (Clearly after a year, we are now experts.)

  • We are now resident experts on planning a wedding while living 800+ miles away from friends and family. (It’s no cakewalk, in case you were wondering.)
  • We can attest to the fact that living  800+ miles from family is too far during your first year but 300 miles away feels just right (f0r now)!
  • If adjusting to your final roommate is not enough of  a challenge for you, we recommend getting a puppy during your third month of marriage…bonus points if he’s not even potty trained. (We actually don’t recommend this, though it does seem to be a common trend among all our married friends.  Hope it’s going better for you guys.)
  • We especially love moving, as we are awesome at organizing, packing, and moving.  <–that is sarcasm.  Thank goodness we had Case’s family to come and help us on our move from Texas to South Carolina.  We probably wouldn’t have made it, otherwise.
  • Lastly, sarcasm has its place, such as blog posts, but is not usually a good idea in conversations with your spouse.  I’ve found that sarcasm is the love language of some, but is definitely the opposite for us.

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Moving into our second year of marriage…

  • We want input from you married peoples on where and how you do your ‘arguing.’ We are very much still learning how to navigate conflict effectively, which I don’t mind sharing, as this appears to me to be one of the more common marital struggles from newlyweds to veterans.  Probably our biggest goal this past year was to cultivate a peaceful home. (Ah, young, naive love…amiright?)  Needless to say, we bit off more than we could chew, as we are still learning & growing.  So this year, my revised goal is to create a peaceful master suite.  No arguing in the master bedroom/bathroom.  We’ll letcha know how this goes.  In the meantime, what works for you?
  • We want to keep traveling.  Our mini-vacays and weekend getaways brought us closer together this past year.  (We’re doomed if we ever stop traveling.) What’s your favorite weekend getaway?
  • At the end of this year, we started praying together. Can I tell you that just one evening of prayer together is a marriage game changer?  Imagine what our second year will be like if we continue to grow spiritually in this way.
  • We miss our Waco friends tremendously but we have been slow to make new friends here in South Carolina.  That is something that I would like to work on in this next year.

Thank you to everyone who helped us make this year possible.  Marriage is impossible in a vacuum, and we couldn’t have done it without the support and love of our friends and families.  Learning how to best love my spouse has made me hyper-aware of how others have loved me over the years.  What a blessing!

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don’t get stuck

LiveNow

2015…

…a year of new beginnings, challenges, and growth…
a marriage
a puppy
a new city
an internship
a pyrex collection

I tried to use more words to describe the joys and difficulties of this year, but nothing seemed to do it justice. So I’ll leave you with this short recap as well as my hopes for 2016…

spiritual growth
new friends
more peace
finding inspiration in the everyday
travel & adventures with hubby

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