oh the places i went [and what i learned while i was there]

If anyone knows where Fall semester disappeared to, I'd really appreciate you letting me know. It is not uncommon for me to dwell on the fact that time passes so quickly and do not realize that, as I am babbling about my disbelief, time continues to tick away. This year, I'm pledging a new outlook. An outlook where I reflect on the wonderful happenings and what they taught me. Henry David Thoreau said, "wealth is the ability to fully experience life." If that's true, I want all the wealth in the world. And I want you to have it also, because there is no competition for life's experiences like there is for money. The thought of there being an abundant amount of life for everyone is a beautiful thing, don't you think? I'm going to choose to be greedy, because I want all of mine that I can get.

The only way to explain the Fall semester of my junior year is "on the go." Or, being a true lsu tiger, "on the geaux." I was extremely priviledged to get to travel more than I ever have in a months time. Yes, I missed spending quality time in the BR, but I just couldn't miss these opportunities to escape. May I share my experiences with you? They were some amazing ones, with amazing people and unexpected amazing teachers.

Destination:  Montgomery, AL
Purpose:  Pulling off a surprise for the nosiest and most suspicious birthday girl (in the world)
Needless to say, we pulled it off!

Hanging out with my niece, Audrey, is always an added bonus

  • Brandon (my bro-in-law) faking sick in the restaurant's bathroom in order to stall. Way to take one for the team, Bran.
  • The amount of chocolate we consumed that weekend. Molly's party's theme was Chocolate Lovers. Let's just say there were lots of leftovers.
  • Spending the weekend with my cool fam. 

Lessons learned:
  • Even the one the smartest and most suspicious people I know can be 100% surprised with lots of brilliant planning.
  • Birthdays continue to be one of my favorite things in life. A birthday is the day that we make up for all the time that we should have spent celebrating them year round. Thankfully, we have this day to do just that.
  • Kind, encouraging words and being with friends greatly out-weighs material gifts.

Destination:  Nashvegas, TN
Purpose:  A fall break get-a-way with all my favorite LSU girls to visit our favorite transfer student (who we miss very much)

C'mon, you have to take atleast one artsy-kid photo when you're in Nashville. Don't worry, we don't take ourselves this seriously.

 These boots...were made for walking (if we could afford them).  

Take any opportunity to get a henna from a beautiful Somoli woman. 

The Hog Slop String Band became our new best friends.

  • Being with all these girls for one straight long weekend and laughing the whole time. 
  • The Nashville Farmer's Market. I dare you to leave never wanting to step foot in Wal Mart again. I have no doubt that I want to have some semblance of a garden one day.
  • Experiencing one of our favorite things to do together - eating out. Over and over and over again (and it was all really good).

Lessons Learned:
  • Being separated from my best friend, Hannah, for the first time in 14 years didn't make an ounce of difference. I'm thankful for a friendship that experiences no change, no matter the distance. 
  • I have somehow been blessed to be surrounded with the most hysterical friends. All of them are funny. I mean, all of them. Each of them in a very different way, but hilarious nonetheless.
  • I have a rekindled love for bluegrass/string band music. Thank you, Andy Griffith Show, for beginning this love affair at a very young age. Thank you, Hog Slop String Band, for reminding me of it. 
  • Going to Nashville's Celebration of Cultures reignited my passion to know about and experience all the cultures I possibly could. It reminded me that not everyone looks like me or lives life like me. Getting to see so many different cultures represented in one confined area was eye-opening. "Red, yellow, black, and white. They are precious in His sight," right? Right.

Destination:  Savannah, GA. College home of my best friend, Abby
Purpose:  The first of four very important 21st birthday celebrations and seeing what life at SCAD is all about.

Riding the Savannah ferry. 

 Abs' wonderful college friends = my wonderful new friends and hosts. (Nice smokers pole.)


 Oh, you know, hanging out with Robert Redford. Just a day-in-the-life. 

  • Flying. I love it. Getting to read Cold Tangerines on the plane and not a text book.
  • Seeing Abs waiting for me at the Savannah airport. And it taking everything in me not to run through security. Reunited and it feels so goooood.
  • Midnight dessert at the Melting Pot. Need I say more?
  • Getting to experience life in Savannah just like Abs does everyday.
  • Robert Redford sighting. Our moms freaked

Lessons Learned:
  • Even though my three best friends and myself did so many of the same things in high school, had very similar lifestyles and interests, we have all established four radically different lifestyles in college. All great, all unique to who we are becoming on our own. I'm so thankful for this because it makes visiting so exciting.
  • Abigail is ridiculously talented. Yea, I knew this, but getting to see so many of her projects first-hand and walking through the classrooms where she creates these masterpieces definitely reiterated that to me. You should hire her, you won't be disappointed. 
  • Abs is still the best shopping buddy on the planet. We understand each other on a supernatural, consumer level. Yep...
  • I am thankful for people who are true friends to my friends, if that makes sense. Even though I wish I could be in two places at once, I'm so happy that they have others who love them unconditionally. How could they not?

Destination: Home Sweet Home (a.k.a. Ruston)
Purpose: Molly, Audrey, Hannah and Ashley were all home on one weekend. Why wouldn't I go home?
Who needs toys? Give the two-year-old a yard stick. Hours of entertainment. 

  •  Mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven as I walked through the door.
  • Hearing Audrey call me "Aunt Meh."
  • Shopping with the three generations.
  • Late night Apples to Apples game with Ash's fam and Hannah.

Lessons Learned:
  • There is a magic about coming home. Even after being away for three years, pulling into 2400 Hillside never gets old.
  • As soon as I see my best friend, Ashley, I instantly feel like I'm with my sister, my kindred spirit. In high school, people always asked us if we were twins. I'm beginning to think that, in some way, we undoubtedly are.
  • Late night reunions at Ash's house with Steve, Mama J and Zach are some of my favorite times and will probably always be so. Thank you for always being interested in my life like I was your own daughter and sister. 
  • Molly and I will never be too old to look through the new American Girl catalog together. 

Thanks to you for reliving Fall 2009 with me. Thanks to the Lord for being our Great Teacher. Help us, Lord, to not waste a breath that you have given us.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14 


an obvious topic

Deciding what to write my first "real" blog entry on out of the Rolodex of ideas spinning through my head was a no-brainer. The subject surrounds, enriches and challenges my life.

Friends are people that I've been unbelievably blessed with, wrongly let them act as a god in my life, and have been forced to find a sweet balance between the two. There is something else that the Lord has blessed me with, that comes from Him and Him only. Among the long list of weaknesses, the Lord gave me a large helping of loyalty to those who I am close to. Loyalty is good. Good things only come from the Lord. This quality is not of myself.

To continue with this listing of blessings, the Lord has given me amazing friends to spill this on to and those who continue to teach me what true loyalty looks like.

I have three best friends from high school. We've been an inseparable foursome since our sophomore year, and our relationship remains today. Until we moved a total of 2,000 miles from our comfort zones to various colleges, we didn't realize that our hometown friendship was a rarity.

 Their names are Abby, Ashley and Hannah. If you've been around me for a total of five minutes, I'd bet that you've heard of them. I may have sounded something like, "Abbishlihannah." I shamelessly find various ways to work them into conversation. When you love someone as much as I love them, you can't help to talk about them. This is how I should be when it comes to talking about Jesus.

About a year ago, the four of us had a conversation which we all sensed in our heart-of-hearts that it needed to happen. It came naturally, late one night while the lights of Austin, TX disappeared behind us as we drove  back to Ash's apartment in Waco. We talked about the mutual realization that we were no longer the same people we were in high school, that different states, schools, life choices, majors and new friends had caused four separate changes. It was like slightly changing the edges to a four piece puzzle so that you knew where the pieces were meant to be, yet the fit was now slightly awkward, slightly forced.

Because of that conversation which was overflowing with understanding, acceptance, and desire to survive these changes, I began a new mindset. It's a mindset where I expect changes, expect disagreeing on various topics, expect different lifestyles but pledge to love unconditionally. It's a daunting task, but while my love could quickly run out, the Lord's is a bottomless, overflowing cup. I often [jokingly] tell them that they could become drug dealers or decide to be a Wiccan, but they "aren't getting rid of me." I pray that the prefix "my-best-friend" would never seem unnatural with their name. This new mindset has caused our relationships to grow and develop in great ways. We are no longer required to fit into the mold of who we were in high school. Instead of that puzzle, I now see us as four separate masterpieces that can stand alone but have an unexplainable beauty when hung side by side.

It's unbelievably to me that we have entered the school year in which we will all turn 21. I feel that it could have been last week when I got off the phone with one of them, excited about homecoming dates and drivers licenses. I was extremely fortunate to get to fly to Savannah, GA for Abs' 21st birthday this past weekend. It was amazing to see in action her life that I have only seen in pictures and heard about over the phone for more than two years. It was a weekend filled with celebrating an extraordinary person. Beyond that, I felt like I was anonymously celebrating our friendship. Not with presents and cake, but by heart-felt conversations before we fell asleep, that sweet and comfortable companionable silence, and choking back tears at airport security. It was an amazing weekend to be together. I can only imagine what it would be like if the foursome was complete.

As I sat in the Savannah airport waiting for my delayed plane and feeling sad to leave, I realized how blessed I was to have friends in Baton Rouge to come back to, to miss while I was gone, who would be waiting up that night to exchange stories from the weekend, who I couldn't wait to see while passing on campus or who I hoped to hang out with at the B. I have no doubt that the Lord loves for us to have friends and for us to glorify Him in those friendships, because I definitely do not deserve these people with my own efforts.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (ESV)


A Blogging Newbie

Though the reality is that I have not a second to spare in this busy life to write on a blog, I'm doing it anyway! I believe we all need a place like this. A place to write and not be graded. A place to share and it not affect my GPA. I expect it to be a place where I can express new (and often random) thoughts, ideas and interests in an organized, thought-out fashion. Here are a few areas of interest that you can expect to see here...

Ideas on community vs. individual relationships with the Lord

I have been beyond blessed to experience amazing, God-ordained community in high school small groups with home town friends, at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry where I have met my LSU family and at my summer home - Pine Cove Christian Camps.
Lately, God has been challenging me with the idea that while community is wonderful and necessary, in the end it will be my person and individual relationship with Him that will matter when I stand before Him at the end of my life on Earth. I am constantly reminded that I cannot use my communities as a crutch.



I absolutely LOVE anyt Do It Yourself projects, random crafts, homemade gifts, new recipes...anything! I hope for this to be a great place to share my latest project (which I always seem to find time for).

Respecting and learning from past generations

[My Mamaw Loyce and I circa 1993]

My grandparents are my heroes and some of my favorite people on this planet. I could listen to them talk about the days when things were less complicated and when relationships were most important while posessions were not. I'm somewhat of an "old soul," and I have a desire to integrate many of their generation's values into my life today.


I know every girl is supposed to love weddings, but you aren't going to find a bigger fan than myself. Thankfully, I am not one of those [single] crazies that has their wedding planned before they ever meet the groom. I simply love everything that has to do with the event. I love thinking about all that goes into the planning aspect - the dress, the colors, the flowers, the food, the location. Everything. More importantly I love that it is a celebration of love and hopefully a reminder to those in attendence of the love in their life.

There it is - the starting line to this new blog of mine. These are a few topics among the millions that fly through my head on a daily basis. I hope that you'll continually check back to see what is new.