"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." -Zora Neale Hurston
My sweet friend Heather shared the above quote with me recently, and it's stuck with me as I reflect over the past year. Retrospectively, 2012 was a year that absolutely asked a lot of questions, and 2013 was certainly one of answers.
Looking back at last year's resolutions, one was to "do something big that scared me." God provided me with multiple opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and learn what it means to trust Him. I can truly say, at the end of 2013, that I am more confident of who I am and Whose I am than I've ever been in my life.
You all know by now how much I love pictures, so this re-cap of the year will include plenty of them! : )
Rang in the new year by hosting a little get-together with my roomie, Jenna, and some of our closest friends. I wouldn't have celebrated it any other way!
One of my good friends from high school, Liz, had a sweet baby boy this year, and I made my first trip out to Abilene, TX, for her shower.
Spent Valentine's Day with my girls!
Looking back through photos, Jenna and I got to spend lots of quality time together this month, whether it was enjoying brunch, volunteering for our friend Heather's nonprofit, or just encouraging each other through life's ups and downs. We had plenty of opportunities to remind each other of the mantra she developed for a sermon- "Trust God, trust His people, trust your process."
My "Little" from our college sorority, Ashley, come to town, and we visited TCU to welcome the newest active members of Tau Beta Sigma. The fact that I now have a great-great-great grandlittle makes me feel like it's been a long time since I was in college!
Participated in my second-ever 5K with Megan. Notice I don't say "ran" a 5K, because I was reminded once again that I'll never be a runner. Goal for 2014- get into some kind of exercise routine again!
Joined the West Dallas Community School young professionals group and officially became a "shepherd" for the sweetest little girl, Abigail, during this month. She's already blessed me, and I can't wait to continue to grow with her! We took this picture on her 8th birthday.
Couldn't have asked for more perfect weather for a successful third-annual Kentucky Derby Party for the young professionals group I help coordinate as part of my job.
Toured historic homes in Dallas to celebrate Mother's Day. I'm glad that my mom and I share a love for old homes and decorating!
A huge highlight of the whole year- spending a week in Destin, Florida, with Jenna! We were both in need of a vacation, and it was perfect. The beach is truly my happy place.
What a fun-filled month! The first weekend was filled with bachelorette activities for my dear friend Sarah. I had the honor of standing up in her wedding, which I wrote all about here.
We traveled to San Marcos and Austin the next weekend to celebrate another sweet bride-to-be friend, Rachel, and had a total blast! That was my first experience with 6th Street, and the weekend happened to coincide with the motorcycle rally. Craziness!
The next two weekends were back-to-back Sarah and Rachel's weddings!
In the midst of all the celebrations, Caroline, who is a good friend from high school and college roommate of Jenna and I, came home from LA to visit! It's always so special to be reunited with two of my closest friends.
Among all of this, I was introduced to Watermark Community Church and started getting plugged in there. This was a game-changer for the months to come...
Spent July 4th weekend floating the Comal River with brand-new friends from Watermark. Thankful to have been so warmly welcomed by them and to continue getting to know them throughout the rest of 2013!
This year I became a provisional member of the Junior League of Dallas, introducing me to new friends, ways to serve, and a better understanding of philanthropy in our city. I'm really excited to complete my provisional project at the Wilkinson Center in February 2014, and if all goes well with the remainder of my requirements, I'll be an active member in May! We took this picture at our provisional retreat.
Enjoyed a relaxing, fun girls' weekend at the lake as a last "getaway" before our friend Kim had her sweet baby boy in September. You can't go wrong with mimosas, a hot tub, and playing board games all day! Not to mention my personal favorite, a gorgeous waterside sunset.
Finding community. I wasn't sure what to expect when I went through GroupLink at Watermark, but the Lord exceeded my expectations by leading me to truly "do life" with these ladies.
Celebrated Heather's birthday this month. I loved growing closer with her this year! Our friendship was such an unexpected one, but after really only knowing her for a year and a half, I consider her one of my best friends. Thankful that the Lord continues to bless us with new friendship at all stages of life!
Living by myself for the first time. The day after Jenna and I had decided to renew our lease together, she got a call out of the blue offering her a wonderful job. I decided to try living solo, slightly worried that I would hate it. Four months later, I LOVE it. I still miss Jenna, and all of our adventures and little ways of blessing each other as roommates, all the time, but I'm also treasuring this independence an unique life phase.
Squeezed in one last end-of-summer trip for my wonderful friend Morgan's bachelorette weekend! We traveled to the Texas hill country and spent the weekend vineyarding and exploring, eating, and playing my favorite game, Catchphrase.
Grapefest in Grapevine- champagne is right up my alley! This picture represents a major blessing of 2013, and something I've learned about myself over the years- I love having the opportunity to get to know my friends' friends, and for my different friend groups to meet each other.
Fort Worth for TCU friend and sorority sister Melanie's wedding! Kimmy caught the bouquet and got engaged two weeks later, and asked me to be in her house party. Looking forward to celebrating her in 2014!
It wouldn't be fall without some TCU football! This was a hard season, but we'll be back next year. Purple and proud always!
Family trip to Norman, Oklahoma, for the TCU/OU game. My little sister is a senior at OU, so it was a house divided!
Retreat to Bowie, TX, with my community group. We had a wonderful weekend filled with worship, fellowship, and enjoying nature.
Thanksgiving with the family. We have so very much for which to be thankful!
Holidays always mean catching up with friends that I haven't seen in a while. Liz, another good high school friend, officially came home after spending two years teaching English in Thailand. I'm amazed at her boldness to move across the world to a foreign country, knowing no one, and building a life for herself there. And she never ceases to make me laugh!
You already know how I spent my actual birthday during #Icepocalypse2013, but my friends, family, and co-workers still made me feel so special with belated celebrations!
Isn't Heather such a talented cakemaker?!
Morgan got married! The whole day was so special and flew by, and I'm so glad she wanted me to be part of it all. I'll have to do a post dedicated solely to her wedding once she gets her pictures!
I managed to not take any pictures on Christmas this year. How did that happen?! So here's one of my sister and I at a wedding the weekend before Christmas. I love having her home, and that we continue to grow closer as we get older.
This post turned out longer than I expected, so thank you if you actually made it to the end! All I could think throughout writing it was that I have been extremely blessed. Grateful for a year of growth and answers, and ready to see what's in store for 2014!
Saturday, December 7, 2013
^^6th birthday party. Don't know what in the world I was
wearing, but at least I had my party at Discovery Zone!
With the roads being so icy, my plans for celebrating with family last night were cancelled, and plans with girlfriends for tonight look like they probably need to be cancelled as well. I'm really hopeful (for everyone else's sanity and safety, in addition to my own) that the temperatures rise enough tomorrow for this all to start melting so we can be out and about again.
Did I intend to be alone on my birthday? No. I don't need any kind of grand celebration, but do I wish I was with the people that mean the most to me today? Of course.
But last night, as I started to feel myself getting bummed about spending the weekend solo, I realized that this is okay. I may be by myself, but I am safe, I am warm, and I know that I am loved. And I have so much for which to be thankful. How easy it is for our hearts to fixate on what we wish we had, and what little things may be "wrong" with our present situation, rather than praising the Lord for all the goodness He provides!
My 25th year was a game-changer. God absolutely humbled my heart, and halfway through the year, I was struck by something I heard in a sermon. "Faith is trusting God." So simple, but until that moment, I thought that my tendency to worry about things or feel anxious was just part of who I am. Who I always would be. I realized then that by worrying, I was doubting God's ability to provide for me and protect me. Recognizing that, and learning what it really looks like to trust God, has completely shifted my perspective.
I have to laugh, because at the end of a year that's broken down my need for control and tendency to be a planning, must-know-what-is-ahead worrier, it only makes sense that all plans are thrown out the window for this weekend. Being iced in is giving me so much time to be still and relax, to catch up on things that have been pushed aside, and to just reflect and be grateful.
And, what better way is there to ring in 26 than with champagne and The Santa Clause? : )
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Last Sunday night, our community group leaders asked each of us what earthly things bring us the most joy or make us love God more.
I listened as the other girls talked about family and friends, buying cute dresses, doing other girls' makeup, bubble baths, naps, spending time in nature, singing, running (i wish i could make myself love that!), and so many other wonderful things.
My quick, created-in-the-moment list consisted of spending time with family and friends, being at the beach, and watching sunsets- my favorite reminder of God's majesty. I might have said a couple of other things, but I know there are a lot of others I left out- the sound of rain falling, coffee in the morning, and holding little babies, just to name a few. But after we all went home, I remembered one huge thing I'd forgotten to say that certainly brings me a whole lot of joy- writing.
One of the girls in the group had even given me a sweet compliment on the way I'd articulated something that evening, and I thanked her and said, "I really like words."
It's been several months (three, to be exact) since I've posted anything on this blog, which probably explains why writing escaped my list of simple joys. Sometimes, after a day spent responding to emails and text messages, writing thank-you notes, and drafting communication pieces, I feel like I'm all out of the "right" words and forget how much I enjoy the simplicity of pouring out my thoughts about anything and everything on this blank screen.
Being able to show creativity through my words is such a gift.
Since I last posted back in August, a lot has happened. I moved into a new apartment and am living solo for the first time in my life. I've taken on new responsibilities at work. I dove headfirst into community at Watermark Church and couldn't love it more. I've cherished time spent with family and friends old and brand new. I went on some fun weekend getaways and enjoyed traditions in my own city. I've celebrated milestones with others. And I'm learning more and more what it means to trust God in everything.
More on all of that soon. (Much sooner than three months from now!)
I'm off to experience the greatness in that picture up there- cinnamon rolls, coffee, a good book, and some quiet time on this Saturday.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Realization: A large majority of my weekend was spent with friends that I have known for a year-and-a-half or less. Mostly less.
I wish I could go back and tell my 18-year-old self that I had no idea what friendships God had in store for me in the years ahead.
In high school, I couldn't imagine meeting better friends than the ones I already knew.
In college, I thought I had formed all of the close friendships I would ever make.
Only now have I come to realize that new, lasting friendships can be formed no matter how old we are.
Moral of the story- I'm incredibly blessed with friends that I've known for years and years, and with some that I have just met.
I somehow don't have any photos from Friday night, but I enjoyed a girls night at a winery and then ate Tex-Mex with three lovely ladies from the church I've attended for the past year, where my roomie works. I hadn't really spent time with two of them before, so it was nice to meet new friends (see?!), and enjoy time with Alyssa, who I've only known since January. The more we get to know each other, the more we find in common. I'm glad we've discovered a shared love of blogging and reading others' blogs : )
After a full Saturday of shopping for apartment items with mom, we went out to celebrate sweet Heather's birthday! My friendship with Heather was completely unexpected, but she has already enriched my life in so many ways, and I can truly say that she's now one of my closest friends.
a bonus of being Heather's friend= Elyse & Melody!
Sunday brought church and chores like laundry, grocery shopping, packing... and then, the best part- our first community group get-together! We went bowling, which I'm always happy to do.
We'll start meeting weekly for fellowship, encouragement, and studying God's word together. I am so excited to "do life" with these ladies!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I had the honor of being a bridesmaid in my friend Sarah's wedding this summer. I've attended dozens of weddings, but this was my first time to stand up in one next to a dear friend, by her side as she made the most important commitment of her life.
Sarah and I met through our college music sorority, which brought countless fun memories. We also had an astronomy class together our freshman year, complete with many delirious late-night study sessions, including one where we gave her the nickname "Nair Lover" that I still call her today. No one seems to find it nearly as hilarious as we do when we explain the story, so I'll stop there!
We've only grown closer since college, thanks to our Bible study/women's group and being intentional about spending time together. I cherish this friendship!
The festivities leading up to the wedding were a total blast!
We THOUGHT we were going over to Sarah's house to put together wedding centerpieces, but really it was her excuse to give us these adorable bridesmaid gifts! I've been using mine on all of my overnight/weekend trips!
Who isn't excited to get a Crock Pot?!
Bachelorette Party Night #1-- painting!
I promise I have pants on...
Bachelorette Party Night #2-- Dinner and limo to Uptown Dallas!
Getting a limo was a genius idea-- full credit to maid of honor Hannah on that one! No one had to worry about driving or parking in crowded Uptown, and we could all ride together. Not to mention that we had Curtis, the best limo driver ever!
This would be at about 3:00 a.m. after our night out on the town when the smoke alarm kept beeping... trooper that she is, Sarah climbed up on that ladder and fixed it! James is sure lucky to have a wife that knows how to get things taken care of! : )
And, of course, the main event... the wedding! It was so special to be with Sarah the entire day-- getting ready with her, helping her put on her veil, jumping up and down with excitement and asking her things like, "you're getting married in an hour...how do you feel right now?!"
Hair and make-up done
I was obsessed with the back of her dress
Our pledge class doing our special sign...
The entire thing flew by... isn't it crazy how an event that requires months of preparations is over in just a few short hours? But it was beautiful and fun and perfect for this couple!
This needs to be framed and put in their home, immediately!
Congratulations, Sarah and James! May the Lord bless your marriage and bring you joy together.
Wedding photos by Keith Evans Photography-- check out the rest here.