Guest Posts

Happy Holidays

I never cease to me amazed by how quickly things can change and how fast time flies. It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2014, but in just a few short weeks we’ll be celebrating a brand new year—celebrating 365 days of new possibilities and resolutions.

It also seems change is the only thing that remains constant in my life these days. If you looked up the definition of change in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you would see this past year of my life.

It’s been a while since my last post – October 8th to be exact. It would only be a few weeks from that day that I would accept a new job and decide to move to Charlotte, NC. In less than a month from the time I accepted, I not only had a new job, but a new job in an industry I have zero experience in. On top of that, I got a new apartment and roommate, and was given the opportunity to experience a brand new city

For those who’ve followed along with me on my journey up to this point, you know I’ve longed for a change of this kind for some time now. I was beginning to think it would never come. It was only fitting and ironic that this long awaited change came all at once. Most days I look around me and find it hard to believe I’m finally where I want to be… for now (wink).

But I’d be lying if I didn’t also admit that while this change is an answer to my prayers, it’s still pretty scary.

This move happened so quickly. I’ve barely had time to slow down and soak it all in. It still doesn’t feel real. It sort of feels like I’m just here on vacation or something.  But I’ve had a few moments when I look around and think, “this is really happening!”

The night my roommate and I put up our first tree was one of those moments. I’m not one to go super crazy over Christmas. I believe in the meaning behind the holiday, I like Christmas music in small doses, and think all the lights are beautiful, but I typically despise all the work that goes into it. I’m no Grinch or anything, I just don’t really enjoy it. Especially not the cleaning up and breaking down part.

But this time was different. It was different because this was my first tree in my first real, grown up place.

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The entire time I was decorating I couldn’t help but think about all those who helped me make it to that point – to that very moment in my life. My parents, my friends, extended family, and family friends. So many people have stepped in and helped me follow my dreams. I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for several key people. As stressed as I still feel with this transition, this particular holiday season has made me more thankful than I think I’ve ever been. I knew as I was hanging my cheap plastic ornaments and trying to cover up all the holes in our old inherited family tree, I had to do something for those who made such an impact on my life this past year.

That’s where Treat.com came in to save the day once again! I knew that if I wanted to make a card special enough to send to those closest to me, this was the only place to go.

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Some of you may remember the last card I sent using Treat. This go ’round, in true Treat fashion, I found a card that was perfect once again. I love that Treat lets you customize every aspect of your card and they even provide an option to mail your cards for you. I know this is such a relief during the holiday season, especially if you’re trying to complete all your holiday shopping AND moving cities.

As crazy as this year has been, I can’t be anything but thankful. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons. I’ve cried many tears, but I finally learned to let those tears be my teacher rather than sucking it up and pushing my feelings aside. I had many moments of fear, but I’ve also been very brave and took a lot of risks.

It’s been a beautiful year and one that wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing people in my life.

Whatever you’re doing for the holidays, friends, I hope you will take some time to reflect and be thankful. Happy holidays!

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Two Are Better Than One [A Guest Post for Walking in the Journey]

I wrote this post for my first church camp counselor, Breeze. Our relationship has been a beautiful journey and one that I’m truly thankful for. You might remember Breeze from her guest post here on Pondering Reality! Be sure to check out my original guest post over on her site, Walking in the Journey, as well as more info on Breeze! 

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Take a moment and think about a few of your closest friends and how you felt after you spent time with them.

Still laughing from a funny story one of them shared? Overwhelmed with gratitude because they inspired you? Feeling relaxed, calm, and reenergized?

Or did they bring you down? Did they suck you into drama and gossip? Did they make you feel bad about yourself? Did they actually show any interest in what you had to say or did they simply dominate the conversation?

As I sat down to write this post, the first thing I did was Google search “how our friendships affect our lives and our time.” After reading and researching, I came to one solid conclusion:

our lives revolve around relationships. We depend on friendships; in fact we long for them.

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Monday Blues [A Guest Post for Everyday Blessings]

Hello beautiful, friends! I wanted to share a guest post I wrote for my friend Brooke’s blog this week. You might remember Brooke from her guest post she wrote for me back in October! You can see the original post and  learn more about Brooke here. All my love to you!

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One Sunday, not long ago, I felt God’s presences so strongly it was almost as if he was sitting right beside me the entire day.

He showered me with love that morning at church and the words from the song How He Loves Us rang loud in my heart. Especially the part that says “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that he loves us.”

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The waiting game [a guest post by Sarai Gilbert]

We’re all playing the waiting game.

The thing about waiting is that it’s not partial to the good or the bad.  We can wait for good things to come…that special someone to share life with, a new house or job, a proposal or wedding, the end of the work day. We can also wait for the bad things that life throws our way…death of a loved one, that unfortunate meeting with your boss, a call from the doctor.

I’m no different.  This past year has been a year of waiting in our family.  We’ve waited for test results, surgeries, appointments, difficult decisions to be made, more visits with doctors, dreaded medical bills and the death of my sweet grandfather.  But we’ve also waited for birthday parties, vacations with family and friends, weddings, and even quiet nights at home in front of the TV.

Whether we are waiting for something good or bad, we plan and prepare and work for whatever is coming next.

And here’s what I’ve learned: the waiting is just as important as the arrival of what’s next.

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I’ll pencil you in [a guest post by Lori Gilbert]

I love to look at my calendar in all its OCD-glory and see the color coded events that fill every block.

I like knowing that people are counting on me to teach my fifth graders all day at school, lead a small group, plan events for the Singles Gathering, teach a sign language class, show up for sectional rehearsals, plan for a camp meeting, play the piano for church and choir rehearsals, teach piano lessons, and take part in the book study.

I also like knowing that I have plans with the people who love me most to go to dinner and a movie, have fun at Claymates, shop for baby clothes at consignment sales, go to soccer and little league games, and see every Shane and Shane concert in the Southeast.

I like busy.  I like feeling needed.  I like feeling part of something bigger.

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