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    Update On The Dogs + What I’m Loving // October 2017

    Oakley + Scout aka The Dogs

    If you read my blog last week, you saw that we rescued two dogs. If you receive my emails, you may have missed the update saying that we found their owners. Needless to say, our house was heavy with sorrow. Our neighbors came. Everyone was reunited. They went on their way. That was it.

    We tried consoling ourselves with Mexican food, but enchiladas and queso could only take us so far. We took an extremely early bedtime of 9pm for us and chocked the night up to being over. The next morning though, I received a phone call that would change things once again.

    Oakley and Scout’s original owner called with an offer that at first left me with my jaw agape. Scout and Oakley were ours if we wanted them. I hung up, called Rick and played a long waiting game as I wondered what the final verdict would be. Long story short, the original owners are in a fresh, new stage of life and feel like we can offer these two a better and more stable home at this point.

    I guess that’s all to say, we’re once again dog parents. It all feels right again.

    What I’m Loving

    Stunned at the whirlwind October has been! Our anniversary and one of my favorite holidays always makes for a fantastic but crazily paced month. We’ve barely even fit watching Gremlins and Hocus Pocus in. Season 2 of Stranger Things has even taken a back burner!

    Laughing out loud at this episode on The Happy Hour Podcast with Jamie Ivey. If you know me, I don’t say, “lol,” lightly because it takes quite a bit to make me actually laugh – let alone out loud! Sharon Hodde Miller totally brought that for me along with a simple but powerful reminder of who I am in Christ and how to freely live out who he made me be.

    Trying to recover after a weekend of Questival which I absolutely loved! Questival is a huge adventure scavenger hunt style challenge which I blogged about over the weekend here because it was one of the challenges. Think of the whole thing as a real life game of Quelf on steroids. I’m already planning my next Questival adventure with my team, because we loved it so much. Next time, I’ll be sure to get plenty of rest before it begins though!

    Reeling from this episode about identity on the JourneyWoman Podcast with Hunter Beless: episode 18 | The Theology of Identity with Matt Lantz. Here’s a small nugget of truth that made me want to pull over and take notes on the side of the road: “Identity is received, believed, and then lived out. In that order. If you’ve built an identity around anything, whether that’s your job, your spouse, your popularity, your grades, your accomplishment, or any of that stuff. If you’ve built an identity, you haven’t built an identity. You’ve built an idol.” – Matt Lantz.

    Playing Molkky in the backyard, because it’s absolutely beautiful weather around here. Hello to all things Fall – pumpkin spice, scarves, fleece and that glowing, golden sunset that Fall does so well. Plus, it gets us outside as a family!

    Drinking wines and eating cheeses at our wine tasting at Clear Creek Vineyard, courtesy of our bed and breakfast. We finally found a red wine that I actually enjoy! If you ever have the chance to meet Barbara, the owner of the Clipper House Inn in Kemah, please do so. She is incredibly kind, sweet and made sure our anniversary stay in Kemah was absolutely spectacular. We both absolutely loved our weekend there.

    Drowning in Ellie Holcomb’s beautiful lyrics on her Red Sea Road cd. I am totally feeling late to this party as her cd came out last January, but oh my goodness, it’s deep, dreamy and comforting. If you ask Oakley and Scout, that’s what we’ve been listening to around here. It all started with hearing some old episodes of Ellie being interviewed about her heart behind the songs on the cd. I absolutely adore when I get to know the why behind the words of music. The heartache, tragedy and praise she went through that this cd is a direct result of, is inspiring. You can listen to her interview with The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast here or on Annie Downs’ That Sounds Fun podcast here.

    Feasting on Shauna Niequist’s words in Bittersweet. She is one of my favorite authors as her diction and word juxtaposition is always on point. I also believe she reaches down to the depths to put things into words that not only allows one to understand themselves deeper but those around them as well. I can’t wait to binge read yet another one of her other books!

    Loving my new girls, Oakley + Scout. We’re definitely being stretched as we adjust and grow together, but we’re a family now. I love that so much. It’s a great new adventure for Rick’s and my second year of marriage!

    Questival Craziness


    Here’s my Questival Team. Aren’t they beautiful, fantastically fabulous and hilarious to boot? They are in case you’re curious. We’re on a 24 hour crazy challenge adventure race this weekend. Think a real life version of Quelf. Posting about it to a blog is 100% one of the challenges. Yippee and hoorah to that!

    You can follow the fun and craziness of Questival with the hashtag #DoGood or check out Questival.com to learn more.

    Stay tuned for Tuesday’s post because it’s going to be a super exciting one filled with some fun stuff! See y’all then! Until then, have a wonderful wish us luck!

    Safe, Loved + Rested

    Oranges, reds and blacks popping into decor. Ghostly puns and pumpkin spiced everything. Those golden fall sunsets walking hand in hand with your loved one. Friday night lights and Hocus Pocus. I absolutely adore this time of year. There’s something about October that draws me in.

    This October is no different. With its brilliant hued leaves falling from trees and an intense desire to wear boots and scarves bubbling up from the depths of my heart, it is evident that this is my season. It’s here. It’s also brought some new uniquely Fall 2017 things with it – post-Harvey Houston, settling into our first ever home as new home owners, celebrating a year of marriage, the Astros going to the World Series, and generally settling into a new season of life. I guess that’s where I’ve found myself today. Lost in the hustle and bustle of it all.

    Hustle + Bustle

    I’ve never been a memorizer. I can cram the night before the test and do well. Ask my about individual facts days later? Forget it. I can give you the big picture of whatever the subject is. I struggle at memorizing scripture and even where things are in the Bible no matter how many times I’ve read a passage. Sometimes as time goes on and it’s been awhile between readings of certain passages, they become buried in my mind.

    Over the past week or two, one of those passages has been unearthed for me. I’d heard it touched on here and there in small ways but didn’t really speak to me until this weekend. It’s the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. It’s the age old question of which one am I? Am I the Martha who has a never ending to do list as she runs around trying to check another thing off no matter what is going on around her? Am I the Mary who is willing to set aside the less important for the most important – sitting in the presence of Jesus? Let that sink in… Which one are you?

    Vietnamese Coffee + Interrupted Plans

    Last Saturday, I was the Martha. I had my to do list and an intense plan to get a million things checked off from household chores to simple texts needing to be sent. I had finishing books on there, blogging, getting ahead with Christmas shopping, organizing my closet and so much more. Some of this is extremely time sensitive for my sanity. (Excuse me, Closet, you’ve got to do something with yourself!) Others are just ridiculous things that I want to do because watching at least one Halloween movie on Netflix really isn’t a top priority.

    My Friday afternoon and night was full speed ahead as I tried to outdo even Martha herself. I got up on Saturday and had several things already crossed off my to do list before Rick woke up. He desperately wanted to try a little Vietnamese restaurant near our house. Honestly, it was going to cut into my list. They did have Vietnamese iced coffee and I’m a total sucker for it so I obliged. I’d go eat an early lunch with him but then it was back to my list.

    We had a half an hour to kill before the restaurant would open. Rick suggested we take a lap around the trail behind our house. That sounded awesome. (And it was on the list!) That’s where my entire day changed and the reality of that once again unearthed passage would sit heavy on my heart.

    Rest + Reassurance

    While on the trail, there was a bicycle accident with a woman who was trying to coordinate a really big dog on a leash and a tiny little one in a basket. We were on our way to help her wrangle them back home when we saw one of our neighbors. He was trailing behind two meandering dogs. We didn’t know the neighbor so at first glance, they just seemed to be out on a walk. When we got closer the neighbor asked us if we knew them. We didn’t.

    We went on our way but something prompted me to turn around. Rick went ahead to return our other neighbor and her two canine friends home. I chatted with the neighbor as I learned more about the two dogs he’d been following around the neighborhood. He had a dog and couldn’t take those two in. We had a free backyard, and so we moved these two to our house. I watched them come in and plop down on our hard tile floor. They reeked of weariness as they gave a new definition to dog-gone tired.

    New things were added to my list as I rushed out to the store to get some food as Rick tried to coax them into drinking some water. As I walked around the home trying to “get things done”, it just seemed to provide more anxiety in the home for all of us. I finally decided to put almost everything on that to-do list off for the day. It was then as I watched their weary bodies resting up that I saw myself reflected back at me. I was weary and still am, yet I continue to run around and try to get things done. Sinking into the couch, the story of Martha and Mary sunk into my soul. My mind dredged up what I read the night before as part of the reading I tried to get off my to-read list. The irony of it being on sabbath and rest has not alluded me one bit.

    If nothing else, these two have slowed me down. Reminded me that rest is okay. There’s no grace on my to-do list, but there is grace in my life. I just have to intentionally give grace to myself even as I strive to be “perfect” and “put together,” which is really what that to-do list comes down to.

    Part of being okay with putting things off is recognizing that with freely given grace to stop the hustle and just sit, rest and be in relationship with Jesus. Two words sprang to my mind a little while ago that seem to fit here. Safe and loved. It’s hard to extend grace when you’re not feeling safe or loved, whether it’s external for someone else or you’re just being too hard on yourself.

    Before coming over to write this, I reminded Oakley, the labrador/golden retriever, that she was safe and loved. Everything would be okay. I sat repeating those words over her for a few minutes. In the midst of writing this, Scout, the boxer mix, jumped up out of nowhere seemingly alarmed. I repeated the same sentiment over her for a bit.

    Safe + Loved

    7 years ago in October, my dad and I adopted my dog, Clyde. He was a fantastic dog. He was there for me through some tough, heartbreaking moments. Weeks before he passed away, I was watching Homeward Bound with my husband. Growing up in the 90’s, that was one of those movies that we were watching for nostalgia, but I knew it would break my heart. I hated the fact that those dogs and cat were separated from their beloved family and cried at the end of the movie. I loved Clyde and couldn’t imagine being separated from him, whether it was by location or in death. A few weeks later, he passed away. What I do know is that when he was with me, he was safe and loved. I repeatedly rest in that when waves of grief wash over me.

    I’m a dog lover. Since then, it’s been a natural question for many to ask me when I’d get a new dog. My husband, Rick, has longed for a dog for years. In the past few months, I couldn’t even begin to entertain the idea. Even now as I write this, tears are welling up in my eyes. I miss my friend, Clyde. I miss his quirky little habits, and I still find myself looking for him at my mom’s house. The idea of getting dogs were not novel to me, but I haven’t been ready yet. I need for the pain to be less searing.

    Here it is, October, a few months after Cylde’s death and now with two dogs sleeping nearby. It’s a tad ironic. I didn’t feel like I was ready, but I guess the timing is here. Honestly, I don’t know if God didn’t place dogs in our lives with us like this that I would have ever said I’d been ready. We asked around, and they are not chipped. It seems that Rick and I have become puppy parents. I’ve been followed around all day by these two, who I guess call me mom now. Oakley + Scout, know that you are safe and loved just as Clyde was. 

    Update as of October 24 at 9:30am

    We got a phone call early this morning from Scout and Oakley’s real owners. We have given these two our hearts which are now breaking. We know that reuniting them with their family is the best thing for them. My last sentence from this blog will forever ring true. They are safe and loved. No matter what happens as our hearts grieve, that is the important thing.

    Let’s Celebrate! One Year of Marriage + The Things We’ve Learned Along the Way

    Videography by One Fifty Media House

    One year. Wow – what a year it has been. I can’t believe that a year ago last Sunday, we made our vows forever. We’ve learned a lot in the one year of marriage. I’ve been planning for weeks to share some of what I learned on here and post this as a sort of surprise for Rick. After spending the weekend celebrating our one year anniversary with him, I decided he needed to be in on the sharing too. Don’t worry. We already got out all the mushy, gushy words in cards and love letter, so we won’t bore you with all of that here. Now, on to things we’ve learned!

    Things We’ve Learned After Year One

    Written from Ashley’s perspective but includes Rick’s thoughts.

    Compromise goes way past TV shows and decorating styles. Sure, we compromise on TV and decorating styles. The compromise doesn’t stop there. It begins there. There’s so many little things that we’ve had to compromise on during the last year. Dairy Queen versus Thai Tea isn’t the hardest of decisions, but we’ve had to learn how to compromise on the big things. Compromise requires sacrifice from both people, even if it’s a seemingly small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.

    “Two are better than one…” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. It’s been a rough year for me personally. I’ve allowed myself to fall into the trap of several lies. I’ve never understood this verse better than I do now. Rick has been by my side to encourage, support and let me know those lies are false. He has sat with me time and time again and reassured me that those aren’t true. They are not true of who God has made me to be or of my actions. I cannot imagine if I sat through this past season by myself. I’d be a much different person. I definitely would not be walking in God’s guidance. I needed that grounding and constant reminder that I am loved, valued and worthy.

    It’s not about romance, it’s about doing life together. This may be one of the things I am most thankful for. At the end of a rough day, I don’t want roses. I want someone to sit with me that I can relay all about my day – the joys and frustrations. I want someone that I can bounce off wacky ideas and serious theology. Yes, date nights and long weekends together are incredibly important. If those are the only time you’re connecting though, it’s not enough. You need to connect in another way. For us, that may be me sitting in the kitchen drinking a glass of wine while Rick is cooking. It’s Rick doing chores so I can pour myself into photography and blogging. It’s me letting him sleep until noon on Saturdays when I desperately want to play board games by 9am.

    Not every moment in marriage is pretty. I knew this going in but figured I’d add it to the list, because it has rung even more true than I could have imagined. You know what’s not pretty? Starting our marriage sick and ending our first year of marriage sick again. Maybe that’s just full circle? Either way, there’s been plenty of moments that haven’t been the prettiest. Some have been grosser than others. (Mucking out houses.) Some have been prettier than others. (Yay for big dinner date celebrations!)

    Don’t compare your marriage to others. This encompasses how easy things are, how hard things are, both the glamorous and the non-glamorous moments. I think we have the idea that when you get married that things will line up just like your friends or family appears. In reality, those marriages may already be set up and have taken years to take root and grow. Take your time. Let yourselves grow and thrive naturally.

    Not every fight is worth having. If we fought whenever we thought we were mad, we’d be fighting a lot more. We choose to fight when we need to, when it’s over something important and especially if it’s something that threatens our marriage. There’s no need to fight over who ate the last hummus. We’ve got a grocery store nearby. There will be more. We choose to fight over the tough and hard stuff that matters. This isn’t always the perfect formula, but we try to strive to be better at it each day.

    Apologies + Forgiveness are Hard. I stink at apologies. I always have. I’m probably even worse at forgiveness, especially when it comes to myself. This one is hard to talk about. I think I’m better at both of these today than when this marriage started. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about grace though. Grace for Rick. Grace for me. Grace for us as a couple.

    You’ll learn a lot about yourself. I know I have. I’ve learned about things that I’m good at that I have never considered strengths of mine. You also see your own shortcomings as slightly more glaring than ever before. You have more accountability. There’s someone that sees every aspect of your life. You may be able to ignore the chair full of laundry that’s been there for a week already, but it’s hard to ignore the one that you’re accountable to when they sleep less than a foot away from you. There’s a different responsibility that comes with that accountability – one wrapped in loyalty and respect. I’ve learned to rely on Rick as a sounding board for reason, encouragement and support. I’ve learned that we truly do need one another.

    Day 365 is easier than Day 1. Life together gets easier. It’s simple. We learn each others’ idiosyncrasies. As we get to understand those quirks, we understand how to do daily life with each other, and we increase our capacity to fully love each other. It’s a lot easier to display my love for him now when I know him deeper and better than ever than when we left our wedding.

    Be intentional in everything. Intentional was my word of the year, so of course it’d find its way on here. It’s so true though. It’s easy to look back on this year and see the moments where we’ve been intentional and see the moments where we got “busy”. Being intentional doesn’t always look like a big moment. It’s the small moments of connecting throughout the day. We’re very intentional in different ways. Do things fall through the cracks? Yes, we’re human. It’s about picking up the very next piece when that happens and making sure it’s given a little extra care. I’d venture to say that being intentional in the mundane moments leads to a lot more glorious “big” moments as y’all have the foundation laid for that. Intentionality these days is playing a board game, taking a walk and making sure we’re on the same page with calendaring.

    Never stop telling your spouse how you feel. Not to be morbid, but death has been in the back of my mind for awhile. I want Rick to know without a doubt that if something happens to me, that I truly am deeply, madly in love with him. He is my best friend and the one I can count on for absolutely anything.

    Our Favorites From Year One

    Games: Skipbo // Ticket to Ride // Pandemic // Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

    TV + Movies: Moana // Longmire // NCIS // Hocus Pocus // Great British Baking Show // Raising Hope (on repeat + still cracking up each time at the same moments) // Parks + Recreation // 30 Rock

    Podcasts: The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey // Popcast

    Books: The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell // A Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage by Shauna Shanks (We read both of those books together and had some really great discussions based off of them.) // Rick getting back into reading in general

    Food: Sushi Dates at Japaniero’s // Guac + Chips // Asia Cafe // Chicken Lime Tacos // Dumar’s // Zucchini // Local Table // Snow Monster // Anything I cooked for Rick // Korean Grill // Wine

    Miscellaneous: Reading in Hammocks // Our Wedding Memories // Our New Home + Trails // Road Trips + Travels (especially ATX, St. Augustine + Disney World) // Sleepovers with Andrea + Lori // Waco trips to visit Rick’s Family // Dinners with my Mom + Lori // General exploring // Pokemon at Oyster Creek Park // Breakfast with the Quiochos // Candles

     

    I totally feel like a new mom right now with those trendy boards that say all the stats about your one month old. On that note, we are not pregnant. I am a photographer that created a Pinterest maternity board the other day for a client session. (I’ve gotten several texts, so hopefully, that’ll clear it up for you. I get it. I have a bit of a tummy. I’m on a new medicine for my Chrons Disease that is causing weight gain.)

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    Photography by Awake Photography

    A Reminder + Some Questions I Am Asking Myself

    My writing day is typically on Mondays, so I try to start thinking of what I want to write about over the weekend. Here I am now, walking around Target on Monday “getting things done”. Going through my mental checklist of things that need to be checked off sooner than later, I’ve started wondering what I’ll be writing about later today. It is on the list of things to check off after all. 

    My initial thoughts are that I have nothing. I’m dry. We’ll, I guess I have a few droplets left in the well because I do have ideas for next week and other days that are simply not for today- words that I’m ready to write but the timing doesn’t seem to be there yet. The reality is that if I’m truly honest with myself, I do have something to write about. It’s not a perfectly packaged moment in my life so maybe I shouldn’t share it. I will though.

    Over the past week or so, God has gently reminded me in the way he so often does that I have thrown out my word of the year for this week. That word is ‘intentional’. It seemed like a good word to focus on at the time, but the more I’ve journeyed throughout this year, the word just keeps getting harder and harder.

    These past few weeks have been exceptionally harder. Rick and I have moved into our first home as new home owners. With that, came packing, coordination, getting movers, setting up utilities, turning in our old keys along with the myriad of other “normal” things like laundry and feeding ourselves. I let myself get lost in the mix. I wasn’t being intentional. I was busy and not anything even close to a “good” busy. At best, I was distracted. 

    The funny thing is as I’ve walked alongside the word ‘intentional’ this year, I’ve noticed something. There’s another word that walks hand in hand with it. That word is ‘grace’. I didn’t expect her to come saddling up when she did. The more I hang out with ‘intentional’, the more I have to let ‘grace’ follow me around. The more I have to accept her in my life and the more I have to accept her for myself. 

    Isn’t that so stinking hard? Not only am I trying to be intentional in every area of my life, I’ve had to become more okay with grace too!? That seems like too much. It’s not too much though. God extends his grace to us daily. We should be able to as well. That’s so much easier to say than to do. Actually forgiving myself when I mess up or when I realize everything is out of whack because I haven’t been intentional in anything over the past few weeks is a lot harder.

    This was convicting for me this past weekend. This week, I’m stepping into working on new routines and being intentional in everything I can be. It’s not a quick little jump back in, but with ‘grace’ and ‘intention’ by my sides, we’ll get there in no time. Maybe you need to step back after the whirlwind past few weeks, reflect and ask yourself some of the same questions I am.

    Questions I’m Asking Myself

    Am I being intentional in my relationships or just hoping they keep on keeping on?
    Where is my time going? What can I quit so that I can be more intentional elsewhere?
    When was the last time I was truly intentional in my relationship with God?

    What I’m Loving + Favorite Photos // July, August + September 2017

    Oh my goodness. For a monthly review of all things that I’m loving and a chance to show off some more personal photo projects than my clients, it’s been a long wait! I missed July, because it felt too soon after June. The last weekend of August is when Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas completely decimating entire cities and leaving lasting tragedy in its wake. Posting anything that week, especially the things I’m loving, just seemed wrong.

    As we’ve begun to recover and life has gone on, I think it’s time to let you in on a ton of things that I’m loving. The last few months have been so much fun. If you’ve been around my page for a bit, you know that I absolutely love sharing about the things that I am currently loving. Enough with talking about it, let’s jump in!

    What I’m Loving

    BINGING Hart of Dixie for all the good, quintessential small town feels and the quirkiest of characters. Meanwhile, I’m savoring The Great British Baking Show on Netflix with only a few shows at a time. It’s the absolute loveliest of competitions and has inspired me to start baking again.

    PONDERING on Carlos Whittaker’s Kill The Spider book. Full disclosure, I’m part of his launch team, so I got a free ebook download of it to read. I devoured it. Before finishing, I’d already preordered one copy for myself. I just went back and preordered another copy for a friend, so I can force her to read it and discuss it with me. Also because I really am looking forward to doing the video course and the workbook. Y’all, I am actively planning on rereading this already. I cannot express enough how much this book is a game-changer in spiritual warfare and actively living as a Christian instead of just brushing sin away like it’s now dealt with. I’ve started compiling a list of quotes that I love, but really, how does one compile one of the most comprehensive daily prayers that I’ve ever read into a list of quotes. It’s pages long, absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and a necessity in a starting place of my own prayer life. Seriously, I have all the love for this book and can’t wait to see the impact it has after its release on October 3. It’s my number 1 suggestion from my 2017 Fall Book list.

    RICK’S RECOMMENDING his new audiobook series he’s been binge-listening to. One Second After is the first of a three part series that has us and some family friends re-evaluating what we’d do in the event of having to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

    LISTENING to so many podcasts these days. Rick and I have officially fallen in love with the Popcast with Knox and Jamie. Their “Urban Dictionary” series and “No’s of _____” are absolutely captivatingly hilarious. The “No’s of Birthdays” had me laughing so hard in the car that I was crying. The other podcast I’ve fallen absolutely in love with (along with so many others!) is the For The Love Podcast with Jen Hatmaker. I am absolutely loving how she’s bringing both unknown and everyday people onto her podcast instead of big name people that everyone knows. Don’t get me wrong, she had Brene Brown and Shauna Niequist on, and those were absolutely fabulous. I love hearing and learning from the everyday people she has on as they discuss friendships and moxie. I can’t wait to see the next topical series she does. My favorite ones right now are these: Luvvie Ajayi – Authenticity in a Branded World, Real Girlfriends Stories from The Tribe (Have tissues ready!) and Anna LeBaron + Ruth Wariner – Unyielding Courage.

    READING a book about slowing down, taking in life and making the every day things seem less stressful. I’m only a few chapters in, and I absolutely love Emily Ley’s writing style in Grace Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy. We just signed on our new house right before Harvey, and I can’t wait to move in and implement some of Emily’s suggestions into our own home. (No worries. Our new home was unaffected by Harvey.)

    STOPPING to scroll through 5 instagram accounts (Yes, FIVE!) that I absolutely adore as they’re each drawing me closer to Jesus in a different way. @beckykiser of @sacredholidays is super encouraging, and it’s been a true delight to watch as she gears up for writing her first book. She writes the kind of long, good, thought-provoking #instadiaries that I love. The other four accounts are makers who infuse Jesus into their works. @dearmushka is a jewelry company that I have fallen in love with due to its simplicity and calling to memorize and remember scripture. I love her #instadevos. @lindsay_letters is an incredible calligrapher that I’ve followed for years. It’s been so fun to watch her as she opens up more about her life instead of just her business on her account. I’m just fascinated with who she is as a person and love that she’s funny in her own way and not scared to share her quirkiness with the world. Sisters @nataliemetlewis and @valmariepaper have stolen my heart with their adorable twin-ness and deep desire to not only dive into scripture themselves, but to draw those around them to do the same. Clearly, I’m really loving instagram these days.

    CRAVING the Shinoda at Japaneiro’s and the Teriyaki Pizza at Local Table. I’m a huge fan of local restaurants. What are some of your favorites?

    Y’all. 3 months is just wayyyy too long. There’s so many things I’ve been loving and itching to share with y’all. Can’t wait to share again next month! Until then, what are you loving!?

    Favorite July, August + September Photos

    Hate, Love + Kindness

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    My heart aches right now. As many are hurt and terrified as the climate is filling with even more tension and wonder after the events this weekend in Charlottesville, I have to add my voice to the mix. It would be wrong not to do so at this point in history. Being silent is saying that this is okay. It is NOT okay.

    I spent much of last week looking through old photographs. I was blessed with being exposed to other cultures early on in life and getting to sit in classrooms for years with students who didn’t look or think like me. Being a white woman who has been surrounded for much of my life by people of other nationalities, races and beliefs is a gift from God as I would not be who I am today without these friendships. They have taught me so much about perceptions, privilege, hardship, injustice and beauty and for that I will be ever grateful.

    My heart not just hurts for what happened this weekend. My heart hurts that this is still a conversation in our nation. I hate that God has set us free yet we live in fear of ourselves. I have friends that don’t feel comfortable in a variety of situations, because they are treated differently based on their skin color.

    Last Friday, I had lunch with a dear friend where we discussed gender bias and racism, because these are real constructs that are happening at our time. The stories of my friends aren’t my stories to share, but I wish they would. Friends, I urge you to share your stories online, be that voice. Help us to listen and understand with new fresh eyes.

    I’ve seen several things over the course of the last six months or so begging the question of if you wonder what you’d do during the Holocaust; you’re doing it now. The thought of that is so incredibly scary but I think it is pertinent that we really evaluate that.

    My words are not enough.

    I pray that we will all stand together and say that hate is not okay. I’ve read a bunch of articles as well as Instagram and Facebook posts over the past few days. Unfortunately, many are already buried under ongoing social media. My prayer is that we will not forget the ongoing daily struggles when we only see the big, tragic moments. Here are some that I’ve been able to dig up along with others that I believe need to be heard in this moment.

    Look at What is Happening in America in 2017
    A Word from Dan Rather, Journalist
    Letter: Family denounces Tefft’s racist rhetoric and actions
    Words from Jen Hatmaker regarding Charlottesville
    Here’s an Anti-Fascism Video the U.S. Gov. Released Back in 1943. You Should Watch
    A Note to the Church: Let’s Be For, Not Against by Kaitlyn Bouchillon
    A Response to Charlottesville by Judah Smith + The City Church
    Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey featuring Tasha Morrison
    Jamie The Very Worst Missionary’s Call to Find A New Church
    Watch Dr. Cornel West and Rev. Traci Blackmon’s Friday Prayer Service in Charlottesville
    Pastoral letter about racism in America in 2017 by Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Texas Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church
    Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide

    I wish I had more eloquent words to convey how deeply saddened I am by this. God has seen my tears and heard my cries. We have to stand up for those who can’t, for those who have continually stood up allowing us to have this freedom we have today and for those who have ultimately sacrificed themselves for their beliefs. Whatever side you are on, know that the side of love will always win.

    Humans, hate is never okay. Let us be kind and love one another.