Monday, October 31, 2011

this girl i love {weekend in pictures}

running around town with my best friend { my sister}
new turquoise fingernail polish
opening a new bottle of mascara
a just the girls weekend
her new new mossy oak pink and camo steering wheel cover
riding with the sunroof open and windows down, music playing
riding the horses to the neighbors
movies from redbox
grand opening of big lots
singing His praises with fellow Christians
{the list never ends}

the lovely poppy... make sure you mention i referred you on this one!}

Friday, October 28, 2011

speaking for the crown

I was fourteen years old. I eagerly waited my turn to climb the stairs, walk into the arena press box, as the door closed behind me. I was feeling the butterflies; not of fear, but of sheer exhilaration. As I looked around at the other competitors, it appeared as if I was the only contestant eager and equipped to perform.

Finally, it was my turn to meet the expectant judges. I stood alone, facing four judges, as they sat toying with the scoring sheets that lay blank on the table before them.

You may be wondering, where was she? And why was she so impatient about giving… a speech? I was participating in an event that I love: rodeo. You may be imagining : “Bull riding, mutton busting, barrel racing, calf roping…” No, this is an aspect of rodeo that many rodeo spectators do not see.

I’ll give you a hint. My hair is curled, my cowboy hat has been steamed and shaped, my boots are polished and my western clothes with sequined snaps have been creased. Did you guess? You’re right if you guessed a rodeo-queen competition.

Many do not know what rodeo-queen competitions involve. When most think of queen competitions, they probably think of girls in high heels and glitzy dresses. This is not how a rodeo chooses its queen.

A rodeo-queen competition involves riding a complicated pre-determined horsemanship pattern learned by rider and horse. An interview of each competitor is completed. And my favorite part, an expected well-organized speech delivery.

You may be wondering: what does rodeo-queen competitions have to do with Lads to Leaders? In my world, the two opposites perfectly connect. Lads to Leaders had prepared me in a difficult area of rodeo-queen competition. Unlike most of the other cowgirls, I had my speech memorized and was well prepared to face the judges without becoming unnerved, thanks to Lads to Leaders.

The majority of the other girl’s favorite aspect of the rodeo-queen competition was not speech. In fact, most of them dreaded it. However, speech was my favorite portion because of my previous participation in numerous Lads to Leaders\Leaderettes speech events.

If it had not been for the Lads to Leaders\Leaderettes speech competition, I would not anticipate with great excitement the joy of getting up in front of others and speaking publicly, whether it be a panel of judges adorning cowboy hats and boots or a large crowd of women at church.

{several years and a few rodeo queen competitions later}

Without the training provided by Lads to Leaders, I would not have gone on to win this rodeo queen competition. I am grateful that Lads to Leaders has given me this valuable experience of public speaking. Hopefully, I will used this skill in the future to influence others in life successes.

{note: this article was featured in the Leader Ledger monthly email newsletter sent out by the Lads to Leaders\Leaderettes youth leadership program.} 

{giveaway! miss indie designs}

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

give + away: number two {2} {closed}

Up for grabs:
one {1} braided lace journal
{made by yours truly}

{the scottie is not a part of the giveaway... just can't bear to part with him}

to enter:
must follow me
leave a comment here

giveaway ends next wednesday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

thankful, yes {weekend in pictures}

{a weekend proposal by the boy a.k.a. my brother}

{she said yes}

-----fall hoedown at our place-----

 {my sweet sissy}

{sweet friends}

{a grandaddy's love}

{smiles a mile wide and horse rides}

{hayride fun}

{laughs and sunsets in the country}

what a blessed life i live.

{giveaway! l & b} 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

just do it

He apprehensively held the pistol to his head. “Just do it,” he argued within himself. He closed his eyes, breathing rapidly. His entire life flashed before his eyes as he slowly forced his finger on the trigger.

He joyfully grew up in a family that faithfully attended church. He was baptized at age twelve, gave his first Gospel lesson at thirteen, and went on his first Tanzanian mission trip at age fourteen. At sixteen, peer pressure succeeded in altering his life. He spent his day’s drug dealing, drinking and partying. It seemed exciting at first, but it became destructive. He didn’t enjoy life anymore and decided to end it.

He put pressure on the trigger. Suddenly, a distracting noise made him jump and the gun fired. He opened his eyes and through the smoke-filled vapor, he realized the abrupt jolt had caused him to miss.

One year later, he was back in Tanzania fulfilling God’s command. Walking down a dusty road, he saw a troubled youth. He hesitated, but remembered Phillip approaching the Ethiopian eunuch as “he preached Jesus to him.” Had Jesus not said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me?” (John 14:21)

His love compelled him, “Just do it.”

He smiled as he turned toward the boy. He thought how those words were used to encourage him to end his life. Now God was using the exact words to persuade him to tell a wandering boy in Africa of God’s commands.   
{note: this article was written for the Lads to Leaders Mass Media competition this year. it won first place in my age division. it was also published here over the summer}

Friday, October 21, 2011

giveaway winner

is the winner of the scarf and headband!

leave me a comment with your address and i'll get your goodies shipped to you, kaycie! 
{i moderate all of my comments so no one will see your address}

many thanks to my sweet sister, marli, for being the photographer and drawing the winner!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

don't look up


{everyone was in a rush. no one was taking time to stop and smell the roses. on that day, there
wasn't any roses. especially in that damp stairwell. the frail hands of the elderly clutched the railing as they made their way down. and i wonder... were they cautious? were they stumbling down it unbalanced? who helped them? }

i stood there. not believing my eyes. i felt the tears coming. (and i do NOT cry.)

it's the front of the store at Lowe's, waiting for mom. i had mosied over to the small magazine rack by the do it yourself books.

one caught my eye. Time magazine. remembering 9\11. special edition.

i picked it up and slowly paged through it. drinking each and every picture in.

i was shocked.

their faces were somber. they echoed the look of get to safety, get to safety... just make it out of here alive. everyone had an urgent look about them. there were people with pieces of clothing to their mouths, handkerchiefs, whatever they could find... trying not to suffocate from the smoke.

in one hazy picture, it looked as if a very large group were out for a jog. except for the fact that they were all sporting very nice suits and business outfits, purses slung over shoulders, couples embracing each other as they ran. this was not a very enjoyable morning run. no one had planned this form of "exercise" in their own personal day's events.

a man with a camera.

he was present in one of the towers. as he made his way down the enclosed stairwell with so many others as the tower threatened to collapse, he snapped pictures. the faces were ones of fright of the unknown. seeing those wrinkled, aged hands holding that seemingly endless railing will forever be etched in my mind.

and then the firefighters. oh the glorious firefighters. such brave men, lugging up their equipment in that tiny stairwell as the ones coming down, trying to escape the building, hurried down on the opposite side. the firefighters pressed on and the story told of how most were already at the point of exhaustion before doing anything once they reached the upper levels of stairs. i couldn't fathom how they did it. so, so brave.

the man with the camera kept on down. he reached the bottom. inside the building, it seemed snow white. the dust from the collapsing and burning buildings covered everything. he kept on outside where so many more brave emergency medical men and women were hurriedly directing the escapees to safety (if that was possible).

"don't look up, keep moving! keep moving!" the first responders yelled.

the man with the camera looked up. and immediately regretted it.

a person had jumped from the massive building and was falling down, down, down. the man with the camera jerked his head back down and vowed to not look up again.

i felt like crying. these were all true stories and there were many more like them, just horrifying. the pictures, oh the pictures. i just couldn't believe my eyes.

but those words echoed in my mind. don't look up. (shudder)

i walked out of Lowe's that day with a different feeling than when i had walked in. maybe even a different perspective. i had witnessed the events of 9\11 from a distance that morning as customers rushed by in their focused frame of mind, to-do lists in hand. i felt scarred. and still do.

as they say may we never forget, i know in my heart that i can't forget.


Monday, October 17, 2011

filled hands

as the steam rolled upward, my prayers to God also made their way up. as the wrinkles from the shirt sleeve were erased by the iron, i contemplated how God had ironed everything out. He had picked up the shirt of my life, shook it a little, and used His big iron {His hand} to smooth it all over.
it was one of those perfect days where it seemed as if i was on cloud nine. nothing could go wrong. nothing was going wrong.
as the shiny, metal iron puffed and spattered, i thought over all of the blessings He is bestowing on me. me. a person who does not deserve these gifts abundant.
and i smile, as i think of these.

1. lazy Sunday afternoons
2. a sweet church family that i love
3. crunchy peanut butter sandwiches                                   

4. a {my!} family full of love
5. new bookcases for the sunroom                                                    
6. late night shopping
7. good laughs with friends at macalister's

as the iron continues puffing out air, my breath came deeply from within. so many gifts. not at the fingertips. no, but clenched tightly... in both hands. just to breathe is beautiful.
the gifts filled my head and i thought i would overflow with praises. so thankful for this constant gift filled life. <3

Friday, October 14, 2011

give-away: one {1} {closed}

my first giveaway in celebration of reaching 50 followers...

up for grabs:
one {1} turquoise scarf
and one {1} turquoise flower on pink headband
{new and made by yours truly}

must follow me to enter and leave a comment on this post!

{giveaway will close next friday, a week from today}

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the blessing

he won't leave the house until he's done it.

he won't hug us goodbye or kiss us on the head without doing this too.

every work morning, he's faithful. his purpose is one and the same.

he gives, his blessing.

it starts with laying his work worn, grease stained hand on the shoulder of his own blood and flesh, his child(ren). and continues with words. not fancy, or strung together in a fashionable way. but his words flow. they come easily to him. they're beautiful and majestic in their own simple way.

he calls for us throughout the house. he finds us, sometimes having to climb up the stairs to get to us wherever we may be. he talks to us for a while, asking what our plans for the day may be.

and then he easily continues right on in to the blessing, almost unseemingly.

he takes recent things that he knows have been happening in my life and includes them in the blessing. as he pats me on the back, he thanks me {in a way} for the things i've done around the house.

he encourages me in my writing, reading my daily Bible, card sending, and daily Bible note taking.

i don't really remember when he first started. but his blessing keeps on blessing. throughout the day, everyday. he seems to know just what to say because he knows what's in my life. during the blessing, he's not afraid to rebuke and admonish a behavior or action. he may weave in advice after the blessing which may sometimes turn into an open, in depth, heart-to-heart conversation.

he's easy to talk to. he listens. he wants to hear what you think. and then he gives his thoughts. in the most kind, loving way to give them.

after the blessing, he pats you on the back again. gives you a hug. and ends it with those three words. always. i love you.

then he picks up his cap {if it's raining outside} and his socks. he walks out the back door to his mud covered boots. he's the hardest working man i've ever seen. but he doesn't leave without first giving... the blessing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

when joy blooms


i am.

discontent. angry. unhappy. jealous.

i sit there and frown at myself (if that's possible), thinking of all the things i wish were different.

and then...

wake up call. suddenly! as i write my blessings, "gifts," like bright packages with big bows, the light switch is flipped...

look at you. you have gifts literally surrounding you and you sit there, thinking of everything wrong.

but in reality, the good outweighs the bad.

will you just wake up and see for one minute all the good around you?

so i count. not what i want. what i have. and it suceeds what i want. it outweighs the ungratefulness, the covetousness, the jealousies, the unhappiness. (who wants to look at that anyway?)

joy blooms. contentment blossoms.

because of a list.

it starts with one and then grows. yes, grows into something much larger. one "gift" just doesn't seem to satisfy the pen. or the soul for that matter. it has to keep on writing, keep on expressing. because when you count one gift, you must count them all.

1. fireflies

2. pillow fights

3. my church family

4. card games

5. scent of muscadines

6. crickets sounding their music

7. waves lapping against the shore

8. unexpected kindness

does it ever end? will this present happiness ever cease?


because as long as there are stars in the sky, there will be happiness. as long as there arelittle children singing, there will be happiness. as long as God gives grace. as long as there is a searching... studying, for the next gift, it will be there.

the list continues...

what's on your list?


{note: this article is currently published here}

Friday, October 7, 2011

sweeping grace

{via pinterest}

the autumn breeze gently blows my hair. i contentedly brush it out of my face.

i make the broom go swish, swish as i feel the tiny sand particles dance over my bare feet. the sun shines gloriously as the still morning lazily makes it's way to a new day.

the birds sing their song unanimously. the leaves make their music in the trees as the wind whooshes through them. the world is alive and so am i.

i am amazed at the pile of boots, flip-flops, sandals and tennis shoes that make their home on our porch. as i unpile them from the nearby porch chair after sweeping, i neatly line them up in rows-two deep by the green porch door. my amazement comes from the small fact that i forget how blessed we are just by how many shoes we have. so many that we could wear a different pair every day of the week, and still possibly have a pair or two left over.

joy is rising. i feel it bubbling inside me. it's ready to burst.

the cat sleeps contentedly in yet another porch chair as i continue to sweep. i pause, gracing her silky soft fur against my fingertips. she continues to lay sprawled across the chair, not a care in the world.

my cares are also being blown away, just as the wind carries the fall leaves from the trees to make their rest in the yard. with each swish, swish of the broom, they are swept farther and farther until i don't see one speck of dirt or care in my life anymore. what a glorious gift of this life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

it's a photo shoot!

{my beautiful cousin and photographer}

Monday, October 3, 2011

pictures from the weekend

oh. happy. day.

saturday we celebrated with a bang my gran's 74th birthday. cousins, grandparents, uncles and aunts galore at our house. what a fabulous day.

{we feasted outside}

{they make me laugh}

{i wonder who we root for?}

{crossing the fence after a walk in the pasture}

we had a photo shoot too! it looked a little like this....
{more of this to come later!}