Saturday, March 15, 2014

{my table}

My dining room table means so much to me. You probably think that’s so weird. But for me that table represents so many things.

It’s a tall table. A complete square with 6 high standing chairs. I saw it in Sam’s when I was 18 years old about to move to College Station. When I saw it, I knew it would be perfect. You see, I’ve always loved cooking and having people over. Cooking is my way of serving.

Over the past few years, the table has always been there.

It has served many meals for friends. Sour cream chicken enchiladas and guac might top the list on most times served. With pesto pasta and spinach salads coming in second. Sweet tea glasses and coffee mugs have sat more times then people at the table, probably.

Friends have come. Ate. Left full. Left happy.

Conversations have been had about school, family, life and boys. Laughs have come and stayed for hours with friends and endless refills of sweet tea.

Tears have been shed over many heartbreaks at this table. It has provided a solid foundation for the many gallons of Blue Bell that have slowly disappeared as hearts are slowly going from broken to healed. (I believe strongly that Blue Bell fills in those cracks in our heart after bad relationships.)

There are water rings left by roommates who never used placemats.

Endless hours of studying for midterms and finals have gathered the roommates together where we spent more time on Pinterest then reading textbooks.

The table has served as a perfect serving line for so many parties and get togethers. My favorite being where at least a hundred people filled our home to celebrate friends getting their Aggie Ring. The table held food to feed everyone who came, ring themed of course: apple rings, pineapple rings, onion rings, ring pops, and of course a huge cake. Julia Child said a party without cake is just a meeting.

Many prayers were said, whether blessing the food on it or the people sitting at it. Prayers where said quietly at this table. Asking for direction in future plans, good grades on tests, roommates living under the same roof, and for grace. Lots of grace.

My table has gone from Longview to College Station where it sat for four years. From College Station back to Longview then to Marshall. To Marshall in a residence hall.

The table now seats in a room that is way to small for a table this size. But it stands there still- like it did in College Station.

It has served for a meeting space. For more tears. For more prayers. For more studying. And for more laughs. Lots of more laughs.

Now, girls from campus come to this table. To sit and study. To eat and talk. My favorite is to laugh and talk with girls that come to this table.

It really is a table to each person who sits at it. For me, it is God’s gift and His kingdom that He’s given me to minister to. To each person who sits, eats, studies, cries, laughs, talks at this table- to love them, to pray for them, to serve them.

Serving food at this table is my favorite. Serving the people who sit at this table is my favorite.

My table and those who gather around it bless me. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Sometimes the world fills our lives with lies. These lies are distractions. Distractions have been EVERYWHERE the past several months for me. I’ve been so distracted that I quickly forgot what I love- words.

Using words to make sentences that can channel emotions while painting a picture of the gospel. That is what I love.

Stay with me as I quickly try to explain what life has been like the past six months. These six months have been a season like no other. Filled with learning new things and relearning things all over again. It’s been filled with a new job, 18 hours of grad school, new relationships, moving towns, and the list continues. After the newness of the change settled in, I quickly realized I was doing what I always wanted to do- have conversations with girls and show them their beauty and worth in the King.

How blessed I am that the Lord graciously put me in a place where I do this daily! This season has been a blessing, but it’s been long. The tiredness marks every area of my life. I cannot put into words what it feels like physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

Although the foundation of this season is blessings of where the Lord has put me, the walls are marked with tiredness, weariness, and restlessness.

I look back over seasons that I’ve gone through and not one can even compare to this season. When we’re tired physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, it is so easy to not lean as much on God as we should. Prayer times become less, reading the bible becomes routine.

This is weird though, right? In the season when we so desperately need God for strength, endurance, rest we spend less and less time with him. Why? Distractions. The world is throwing and pounding us with distractions that need our attention immediately. Why? Because for many of us these distractions can quickly be justified as ministry.

Many of them are ministries, and that’s not a bad thing. The Lord puts us in particular places at specific times for a reason.

Seasons can be long. They can be wearing to our bodies. In the tiredness and desire to rest when I so quickly get distracted from resting in my Father, one thing remains steadfast through the season more then anything else.

God is still on His throne. He is still king. I am still His daughter.

Remembering this doesn’t automatically give me the energy and strength I need. But it does redirect my hope. It reminds me to live for grace and not perfection. It brings me back to resting in His word and at His feet.

I don’t know how long this season will last. I’ve continually been reminded over the past several months that I need to rest because Jesus rested too. And yes, that’s true. But remember how Martha wanted everything perfect before she went and sat Jesus’ feet with Mary? Well, that’s what I’ve been doing- trying to get everything perfect so then I can rest.

Perfection isn’t coming. That’s a very hard reality for someone like me to grasp.

So for the reminder of this season, however long it may be, these words will always be true-

God is still on His throne. He is still king. I am still His daughter.

Many of the conversations that I have daily with girls show our desire to be perfect. Perfection wears on us. Never will we achieve it here. In our mess-ups, tiredness, weariness, when our perfectionism just isn’t happening, He gives us so much grace. Praise Him! Because guess what is still true in that?

God is still on His throne. He is still king. I am still His daughter.

Seasons are long. Seasons are tiring. But praise HIM for blessings! Praise HIM for grace! Praise HIM because He is still on His throne; He is still king, and we are still His sons and daughters!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Best Friends and Coffee

Friends are the best, aren't they? I love my friends! And I love my best've probably read her guest blog a few times. She's so cool! But really, I absolutely love my time with her.

We live 3 hours away from each other. And with our schedules, it is incredibly hard to get a weekend where we can visit each other. So last Sunday we met in the middle for an afternoon coffee. It was pure bliss!

My heart was happy. I left feeling encouraged, challenged and loved. Sometimes you just need just need time with your best friend. They understand you. They don't judge. They love and they listen.

It was actually Orphan Sunday when we met. Orphans are our FAVORITE thing in the whole world!!! DBarr and I love orphans almost more then anything. So we spent time talking about orphans, Africa and adoption (I don't know if you fully understand...we could talk about these three things all day every day!!).

Here is a picture of a little boy DBarr started sponsoring that day. His name is Albert. He is the most beautiful boy I saw all day. He is so brave.

Make time for your best friend. Skype, call, meet. Best friends are a great gift from God!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Today I got up at 4am to go shoot pictures of Texas A&M in the dark. It was fun. I just couldn't put my camera down today so I went to my favorite spot on campus. The Bonfire Memorial.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

{lately} learning joy

Lately, my life has been one, big, beautiful, messy, crazy thing. I can't really even describe it.

It's easy for me to happy. Making a boring situation fun, looking for the good, finding something to laugh at- that's me.

But I struggle with finding joy. Joy is beyond the happy. Beyond the laughs. Beyond the smiles. And to be honest, right now it's so hard for me to find joy. But I'm learning.

Just this morning the Lord proved His beautiful faithfulness again. Glory to His name! I read Psalm 5:3
    "...and wait in expectation."
That is the last part of the verse and it hit me like a brick. My expectations HAVE to be in my Heavenly Father. I can't put my expectations in a job interview, a relationship, or myself.

It's hard to do. And I'm learning. But here are things that have been happening...enjoy!

High school football on a Friday night. 

Sitting on the front porch at home while it rains. There are few things better. 

Class field trip to take pictures of flowers? Don't mind if I do. 

Getting to take pictures of adorable little girls.

Sister just keeps comin' to College Station. I'm not complaining at all. 

A fun football game with some Impact fishies. Love these girls!

Fall brings the good comfort food to Panera. Bring on the carb overloadin'. 

Pretty skies. Thank you Jesus.

Grilled Alaskan salmon brought straight from Alaska himself. Grateful for this friendship.

More sister time.

As if headed to a NEEDTOBREATHE concert isn't exciting,  God gave us this to look at!

A weekend with these two to see NEEDTOBREATHE. So many laughs and memories. Love them dearly.

Be still my heart.

My. Favorite. Band. 

Aggies love them.
Seth's guitar picks. Thank you Shiloe.

2 things: the start of Duck Dynasty season two; drinking coffee at home~nothing better

Good reminders.

Got to spend a week at home for the one and only East Texas Yamboree.

The only time during the year when it's acceptable to eat a whole one. By yourself. Each day. 

Day made when someone sends you this. 

Afternoons in the Flag Room with beautiful Ags playing beautiful music on my beautiful campus. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Color-Coded Planners

You know how some days you can plan your entire day out, hour by hour, with your to-do list and schedule. All color coded. All perfect.

When my day starts like this (which is most days), I feel fail-proof. My day will go just perfect if I can follow this schedule and get everything done. When I lay down that night, knowing that everything will be marked through, that makes my heart happy!

I know, Type A to the max. Some of you may have no idea what this looks like and think I'm crazy. Others of you relate so well, don't you!?

Well, last week was one of those weeks where every day my day was planned perfectly. Every day did not end perfectly. My list and schedule were not marked through at the end of the day perfectly. Things came up, things didn't get done. I was frustrated. I was annoyed. I was stressed. I was defeated.

When I don't get things done that I had written down, I feel like I failed. Big time. I think that everyone around me expects me to get everything done. Expects me to have a clean house. To cook and bake homemade goodies. To wear make-up and have my hair done. To have time to workout. To be in a zillion organizations. To be successful at school. To be happy all the time.

Do you feel like that ever? Feel like you just have to be a perfect Christian girl? It's hard. It's impossible to do. But yet, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be this way. Why? I don't know.

Maybe it's from growing up in church and seeing all the older ladies or our own moms. We watched them have a clean house, cook dinner every night, volunteer at the church, be there for everyone. And what we saw was that they did it all perfectly with grace.

I realized this week that God wanted my attention. He definitely got it. I felt so defeated. So not perfect. I realized that all my attention, all my work, everything I did was due to the fact that someone was watching me do it, I knew something was wrong. I was in need of saving from this huge bubble of pride surrounding me. I knew that God was faithful. I knew that everything I did was because of His grace. I knew that He has redeemed me. But living that way is hard. Knowing how to live as free, in His grace, redeemed, is hard.

Praying for my Father to rescue me from my defeat and pride of living in a way that satisfies others, that's a daily prayer for me now. Tears flowed when I realized that I'm captive to living in a way that bases all my success and joy on how others are satisfied by me or see me as successful. How that must hurt my Father's heart when He already rescued me.

After days of praying, being convicted of this and crying out to God for help, you do get tired. I was getting more frustrated that I wasn't fixing this problem now; that God wasn't making me joyful or satisfying my heart immediately. I had pain. I wanted healing after my prayer ended. Right then. I think I expected my heart to be overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction in the Lord immediately. But sometimes our Father doesn't work like that. He didn't do that for me.

I knew God was faithful. I've seen His faithfulness before and knew what that feels like. I knew my heart could be completely satisfied in Him; it has been before. I knew all these things. I just didn't know why my heart didn't feel different.

God works in so many ways, and it isn't my place to tell Him how I want Him to work in my life. Really, that's crazy. Me telling the Creator of the universe how I want Him to work because obviously I know what's best....  But slowly, my Father sweetly brought me back to Him.

He is showing me that my perfect life isn't perfect. Only He is perfect. That getting my satisfaction and joy from the way others view me or doing things out of pride because I think that's the way people should see me, is hard to let go of and let Him be the giver of joy and the satisfier.

This journey is a hard one. But God is beautiful. He is gracious. And glory to His name for that because He knows I'll need lots of it through the process!

I heard this song and loooove the lyrics! Listen to the words. Our God is our savior!! He is right there when we call out to Him! He hears us! He is so great!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Red River, Freshmen, Blue Bell, and Fights

Well, it's been a crazy couple of months. Family vacation, Impact (meeting the most precious incoming-now-freshmen at A&M), good friend getting married, starting my last semester at Texas A&M, doing school stuff, and trying to breathe....learning too.

Learning that God is here. He is now. He isn't going anywhere. He isn't going to leave me (or you!). He's right here.

Isn't that comforting!? It makes my day a whole lot better remembering this. Lately, I've had to say these things out loud daily or several times a day.

But God is so faithful and so good! He's teaching me that. Sometimes it isn't fun going through the process of something. But then as soon as it's over, you realize God taught you sooo much. He's so beautiful and good like that!

This is what my life has kind of looked like over the past few months...these are just a few of my gratefulness pictures!

The Thomas Family Vacation:
We started in Red River...oh Red River, NM, I left my heart with you for many reasons. 
Reason 1: I could sit outside in August in 50 degree weather with coffee and my favorite book.
Reason 2: It is socially acceptable to wear chacos and fishing shirts everyday.
Reason 3: Your Mountain Daisies are my favorite flowers. 
Reason 4: Your views are beautiful.

Reason 5: You have cool places like Camel Rock. 

We then headed to Santa city. Great food and weird people but I loved everyone of them. I also loved buying beautiful handmade jewelry from this Inca Indian lady. She was beautiful!
After a wonderful and restful family vacation, I headed to Impact. Impact is a retreat for incoming freshmen at Texas A&M/Blinn that introduces them to Christ and His community here. It's a beautiful thing! :) I was so excited! I was a prayer teamer, so while camp was going on I got to pray for the freshmen and retreat. God moved in awesome ways and did awesome work in their lives and mine!

My camp color was green; we were Omega session and camp Simeon (Omega Simeon)!

The beautiful Omega Simeon ladies! Absolutely love these chicas!
The rather handsome O-Sim gentlemen. 
My partner, Bryce! 
On the way to retreat...just look at those precious freshmen!

Some of my beautiful freshmen girls!
Then it was my life-long friend's wedding! 

The cutest little flower girl around, Harper

 OHMYGOODNESS!!! Then I had my last first day at Texas A&M...weird.

It did help that my class was in this room. 
Having photography as apart of my degree does make me a happy camper.
Early morning photo-shoots and coffee...ahhh

 This chica turned 19!! (She's a baby:) )
Shiloe: we walk around Sams getting samples, break into Breakaway before they open the doors and have the best convos. Love her! :)
Perks of being a morning person, being on campus to watch the sun rise over Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park (one of my favorite places!)
God is beautiful! Watch a sunrise this week. 
This past weekend my sister came to visit me!! We also had our first official game in the SEC!! Whoop! (gators 20, Texas A&M 17 :( ) 
Getting sunburnt at the game, having a fight break out right behind us at the game, eating bread bowls from Blue Baker, laughs and lots of weekend. ever.