Friday, May 29, 2015

In Ten Years...

In ten years, I will be 31 years old. When I was little I used to think 30 was the oldest a person could ever get, which looking back makes absolutely no sense- my dad was already older than 30...numbers never were my strength. Now, 31 feels like nothing! I fully intend to be active and energetic at not only thirty-one, but also 101, thank you very much! So, I've started thinking about what I want my life to look like in ten short years.

In ten years I hope...

that I'm happily married and had a beautiful, simple wedding and a beautiful God-honoring marriage. I hope to spend Sundays doing nothing and lazing around the house, and to always make sure my husband knows he's loved. I hope to be serious and silly, and to smile because I'm blessed.

that I own a small home, and I actually mean small. My goal is to have a cozy two (maybeee three) bedroom house with a big yard somewhere near the city, but with a country feel. A perfect compromise house. However, no matter what I know I'll love it as long as I love those I'm with (and I will!)

that I'm teaching, or doing something else that makes me happy and lets me help others. Ideally, I'll be in a small school district in a third grade classroom, but we'll see! I hope to emphasize that school is fun, learning is fun, and that my classroom is a safe, fun, place where we also work really hard.

that I have kids, who I will love with my whole heart. I know I'll never be supermom, but I hope that my future kids know that they're loved, that I will always be their number one fan, and that I'll always make time to listen to them and support their dreams. I hope to give them every opportunity they want to pursue, without letting them lose sight of what it means to work hard to achieve their own goals.

that I'm taking care of myself, for myself. I've never been one to pay too much attention to society's standards, but I do know how to be healthy and I hope that I haven't lost sight of that by the time that I'm thirty. I really want my family to eat well and to be active, so I hope that I can be a good role model of that in my own life. I know I talk a lot about how I used to run but have been out of that routine for a while, so hopefully at some point over the next ten years I get into gear and start a routine that will work for me.

Overall, no matter what life looks like ten years from now I hope I'm happy. And I know that as long as I have God and am surrounded by those that I love, that I will be. So, we'll see how the next ten years goes.

Where do you hope to be ten years from now?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fixing A Bad Day


How to turn a terrible, no good, very bad day- into a great one.

Yesterday, I posted my Bad Day Box for my boyfriend, which got me thinking about what cheers me up on my own bad days. I'm not naïve enough to think that every day of my life is going to be full of sunshine and roses, but I do like to believe that every day should be a good one. Which means that for me, when bad things happen and throw off my day, I'm not a very happy camper. So, when those little obstacles come up- here's what I do to fight the terrible day blues and fix a bad day.

1. Buy. coffee.

This might seem silly, and it's probably not the smartest decision, but having caffeine in my system somehow allows me to deal a little bit more. It might just be that I'm more alert and can think better to solve problems, but either way I'm convinced caffeine is a miracle worker. So, grab a cup of coffee, or iced tea, or whatever your favorite caffeinated beverage is.

2. Talk it out.

Nothing makes me feel better than calling up my parents on the phone to vent about what's going on or talking to Ry about it all. The people that you love know you, and they know how you react to situations. For me, if I tell them what's going on they know whether they should listen and tell me everything will be alright, or offer advice. So far, this method has never let me down. Reach out for support when you need it, nobody can do everything on their own all the time. Even me. (Shocking, I know...)

3. Do something you enjoy, for you!

Back in the day, I would go for a run and forget about every bad thing that had happened. Nowadays, I'm more likely to choose Netflix or Pinterest to divert my attention from whatever else is on my mind. Nothing like some silly tv or a whole lot of future planning to distract the mind, I tell ya.

4. Get to work!

Depending on the situation, getting to work will always look differently. Sometimes, I'm stressed and I just need to focus on getting things off of my checklist and accomplished. Other times, I really need to focus on what I'm going to say to someone and to process that myself first. Others, I just need to keep it together and wait the situation out. But, there's always something that has to be done- so figuring out what that is, and doing it, always helps. And if I find that there really is nothing that I can do, or nothing I know I should do, then praying about it always helps me to see things clearer.

5. Make a pros and cons list.

I've found that no matter how bad a day is, there's always more good than bad in life. So, when things are getting really terrible I make a list. On one side I write out allll of the wonderful things that I've been blessed with, big and small, and on the other side I list the (much fewer) bad things I'm facing. It really helps to put things into perspective and makes me appreciate the little happy moments even amongst the bad.
What do you do on a bad day?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Bad Day Box

Lately, my boyfriend has been really stressed. The end of the school year is difficult for everyone, but his load has been really heavy (especially this week) and as a result, he's getting worn down. So, I decided to see what I could do to help cheer him up. And thanks to Pinterest and some quick Google searching I was able to come up with the perfect idea -

The Bad Day Box!

  I decided to take an old Toms shoe box (perfect size - not too big, not too small) and fill it full of Ry's favorite things, little notes, and other encouragement! I covered the outside of the box in bright yellow paper (because yellow is happy, darn it!) and wrote positive notes on each side.

    I wanted him to know the second he had this box in his hands that he's loved and supported. I chose to write 'I know you can do it!', 'Keep your head up!', 'You are loved.' and 'I believe in you!' on the sides of his box, but you can literally write whatever you want: inside jokes, nicknames, cover the whole thing with hearts and glitter - you choose.
   I threw a quick note on the top of the tissue paper, because I know if I put this thing inside somewhere he might not see it. Everyone knows you've gotta read the card (or yellow note) first, right?
   Then came the fun stuff (yay!) I chose to do five things in his 'Bad Day Box'

1. Candy- because sometimes stress leads to snacks, and there's nothing wrong with that! I tossed in some of his favorites - Butterfinger, Crunch, Skittles, Chips Ahoy cookies, and some Trident watermelon gum.

2. A coffee gift card to the nearest place for a last-minute caffeine fix.

3. A few study supplies he might need at the last minute and not want to get- index cards and page marking post it dealies (what is the official name of those? flags?)

4. Some short notes attached  to pictures of us (one silly, one serious) that I know he likes. I even found an old 'Open when you need cheering up' letter I intended to give him during Christmas time that I forgot and put that in there too!

5. Bible verses that could lend encouragement on bad days - Philippians 4, Psalm 28:7, 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, Jeremiah 29: 11-12, and 1 Peter 5:7. I wrote these on scrapbook paper in the shape of hearts, but as I mentioned before- customize it however you want!

   I'm planning to give the box to him today, so we'll see how it goes! I hope it cheers him up.
Have you ever given a 'Bad Day Box' similar to this one? What'd you put in there?

Dolen Diaries

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Blurb For Every Blog

I've been blogging for about a month now (woahh...) and even though I've still got a ways to go, so far I've found some great blogs to follow and I just wanted to share those! If you're not listed, don't feel sad! Let me know your link- I'd love to check it out too! Until then, have fun perusing some of my most favorite blogs I follow.

Coffee. Clothes. Repeat.

First of all, I love love love this blog name. Coffee and clothes are very important things in my life as well, so I'm glad to see that Stephanie has her priorities in line! So far while following Stephanie I've loved to see her sense of style, honesty, and all of the bright colors that pop against the simple clean design of her blog.

Eat, Drink, and be Mary.

Mary's blog was the very first blog I ever followed and the one that probably convinced me to start blogging. I love that she's able to write like she's speaking to a friend (that's you!) and that everything she posts feels relatable - her week rundown, wedding plans, recipes - it's all so great. My friends and I often talk about what she's posted on Instagram, and how relatable she is to our own lives. I definitely recommend following Mary.

Fabulous In First

If you're a teacher, or are planning to be a teacher, you neeeeed to check out this blog. There are so many ideas and resources it's almost overwhelming. I love reading about classroom happenings and teacher tricks to stow away for my own classroom someday.

Hot Tea and the Empty Seat

This blog is beautiful and I can't even explain it in words that do it justice, so I suggest you read the 'About Hot Tea and the Empty Seat' page, here. If that doesn't convince you to read this entire blog from start to finish, I don't know what will!

J's Everyday Fashion

J's closet is the closet everyone wishes they had. Think your favorite clothing pins on Pinterest, but in real life on an actual person. I love to see what she puts together, and then wish that they were looks I could actually pull off.

I love Stephanie's blog because she's so REAL. Everything she says seems honest and true and similar to Mary, it feels like you know her and you're along for the ride. She's silly and loves glitter and Jesus, and that's all that you need to know before going to her blog.

Northwest Native

I'm not entirely sure how I found Mattie's blog, but I'm glad that I did. In similar fashion with all of the other blogs I love, Mattie blogs honestly and her blog is an easy read. I love that everything is straightforward and so so simple, and that there are many different topics covered. Plus, she's also from the PNW.

Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons

Earlier I said that Mary's blog was the first one that I followed, well... that was wrong. I've been reading Mrs. Lemons' blog since I was a freshman in college. Three years. I read about her classroom and it was everything I wanted my own future classroom to be someday. If my class and activities are half as amazing as hers are, I'll know that I'm doing well. Definitely my favorite teacher blog.

The Daily Tay

If you don't want to laugh, don't read this blog. If you don't enjoy smiling, steer clear. This girl is hilarious. Definitely not your typical lifestyle blog because it's so. much. better. And that's all I have to say about that.

The Fashionista Teacher

I found this blog while perusing for ideas of what to wear during student teaching next year. This girl, I swear!! I don't know how she does it. Similar to what I said about Mrs. Lemons above, if my teacher wardrobe is half as good as hers is I should win some type of best dressed award. Well, at least the ones she hasn't already won herself. So many cute ideas.

The Teacher Diva

In one hundred years when I figure out how this woman's outfits look runway worthy andddd she teaches, I'll let you know. Similar to The Fashionista teacher, and J's Everyday, you'll be begging for her closet as your one gift for every upcoming holiday. So many cute ideas.

Well, now that I've shared my favorite blogs - what are your favorites?
Do you read any of the ones I've listed?

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Grateful Heart - Linkup

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I hope today is a day well spent for you, however you spend it! Holidays like this always get me thinking about the things I'm grateful for, big and small alike! So what better Monday to join in on the Grateful Heart linkup by ember grey!

I'm grateful for. . .

1. Sunny days - Living in the PNW, it rains. A lot. Like 379 days out of the year a lot, and yes I realize there aren't even that many days in the year. So, I really appreciate the days that I can wear capris or (gasp) shorts without freezing to death.

2. Coffee - I have the weirdest schedule this term and I so appreciate the cheery baristas (I was one, but I still can't get over how happy each barista I've ever encountered is) and their ability to give me amazing coffee on the craziest of days.

3. God's grace - At my Tuesday night college group last week we talked about God's love for us despite our lack of perfection. I've read a lot of things lately about our need to feel like we're worthy of God's love. I struggle with this a lot and didn't realize it until recently, so hearing those reassuring messages that no matter what, I'm good enough, has been really great for my heart. One of the messages that sticks out to me on this topic is over at She Reads Truth. Their current study is about fruits of the spirit, and the faithfulness post was beautiful.

4. The opportunities I've been given - It overwhelms me when I think about all of the things I've been able to do in my short life, and all of the things that I will do. I've been so blessed and I can't even thank God and everyone who has been part of my life so far.

5. Colorful pens - Because sometimes classes are a struggle, but colorful notes make everything better. Colorful pens are basically the key to my future teacher heart.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

How are you spending Memorial Day?
What are you grateful for?


Friday, May 22, 2015

5 (plus one!) Things I Started Doing Because of Him


1. Drinking more water

I know, this is probably the last thing that you expected to see. But it's so true! Ry is always drinking water, and definitely recognizes how important it is. He got me a hydroflask for Valentine's Day this year (side note: I don't know if you've heard of these things, but if you drink anything with any sort of temperature, you need one - yes, this means you) and since I've had one, I've been consciously paying attention to my H20 intake. And I feel better because of it.

2. Eating breakfast

I'm guilty of being one of those people who didn't recognize breakfast as being the most important meal of the day, or important at all, and frequently skipped it. Ry doesn't do this. We've had so many breakfast dates since we've been together that now I have to eat breakfast. Which is probably a good thing.

3. Understanding time zone changes

Never thought in a million years I'd remember what the differences were between all of the different parts of the world. Ever. And while I obviously don't know them all, America's time zones are in my mind forever. Converting those for flight time is still ridiculous though.

4. Trying new things

Full disclaimer, there are some things I still after all this time still refuse to try. Spam? No. But, I've tried a lot of different foods I never would've picked out on my own. Some I hated. Okay, most I really didn't like. But a lot of them were actually really good!

5. Learning new words

In any other situation I probably wouldn't notice how someone spoke differently than me, but now I do. Flip flops and slippers/slippahs are apparently the same thing, futons can be pronounced as futon (correctly) or fu-TONE (still don't understand this one...) buffets can also apparently be called BOO-fays (seriously, what?) and just so many other things. The first time I heard him say shoots to a friend I thought he was asking me if I was wearing shoes. Embarrasing.

& probably the most important - recognizing the little things

Ry does things for people just because they need to be done, and he knows he's capable of doing it. I can't even think of specific examples because there are so many, but I really admire how willing he is to help. And, as a result, I've started trying to pay attention to things that I can do without being asked, most everywhere I go.
How have the relationships of your life affected your habits? Have you changed at all? Have those around you?

Linking up With:

Fitting It All In
A. Liz Adventures
Bright on A BudgetSeptember Farm


Bright on a Budget

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Girl Behind The Blog - 5 Things You Don't Know

Happy Thursday! I figured we should get to know each other a little bit better and so I'd like to formally (ha, like anything's formal around here...) introduce The Girl Behind The Blog, aka me! So, this post is dedicated to five things that I'm sure you don't know about me, or don't know a lot about.

1. I'm addicted to Instagram.


 I love Instagram, and seeing snapshots into the lives of people I care about. Facebook and Twitter might be cluttered with a million different kinds of videos and pictures and lengthy paragraph status updates, but not Instagram. Instagram is always short, sweet, and to the point.

Also, apparently I never posted this photo on Instagram. But I find it hilarious that I was going to dedicate an entire collage to my love for this shirt. I mean,  do really love this shirt (American Eagle in general)

I also apologize for the duck face. I don't even know. Sheesh, Sammy from a year ago...


2. I golf, and I'm terrible at it!

My brother is a really great golfer, and one day he asked me if I wanted to go with him. I decided to go, and we had a lot of fun, but I'm terrible. I think that nowadays they bring me because I'm guaranteed to be the worst one on the course, and nobody else in the group has to lose.

I haven't played consistently, just off and on a handful of times over the last year, but I don't think I've improved. At all. Last week we went to play nine holes and I hit a house. A house. Thankfully, I didn't damage (or gosh, break!) anything, but sheesh... talk about embarrassing.

At the end of the day though, I think golf I fun, it's an easy way to get in a lot of walking, and I get to spend time with my brother.



3. I love to bake!

Not sure when I started baking, but over the years I've been doing it a lot. I love making chocolate chip cookies, muffins, cheesecakes, brownies, fudge- you name it.

It gets pretty overwhelming in the summer time when we've got a billion containers of blackberries around and I'm making blackberry syrup, pie, crisp, etc. But, at the end of the day baking is still a stress reliever of sorts.

I really like experimenting with recipes to adapt them to fit peoples dietary needs. Often substituting things in tried and true recipes turns out terribly, but sometimes it works out, and that's always exciting.

4. How I spent my 21st birthday

The day before my birthday I rode my horse with my mom, and Ry sat with my dad in freezing cold December temperatures. Afterward, we went to dinner with my entire family.

My actual birthday was Monday of finals week. I didn't have finals, so I spent the day hanging out. My residents made me brownie, bought me coffee and a mug, and Ry got me a beautiful new Bible and took me to dinner.

Despite what the stereotypes tell you about college students, I didn't drink. Ever. I've had a drink since turning 21, but it's not something I really plan to do in the future. While some people might not understand why I choose not to drink, so far I'm not regretting the decision!

5. Hawaii


I went to Hawaii with my family for Spring Break and I still don't think I've fully processed how I feel about the whole trip. My family never ever goes on vacation, and the decision to go was really surprising.

Ry is from Hawaii (lucky duck...) and so he went too and it was great to have all of my favorite people in one place. The weather was beautiful (because it's Hawaii, where it's never ever terrible.) and it was just a really amazing experience.

Someday, most likely super far in the future, I'd love to go back. And hopefully this time I won't burn as bad. Wear sunscreen, folks, especially if you're as pale as me. Thirty minutes the first day was all it took. Yikes.

What are five things most people don't know about you? Are you obsessed with Instagram, baking, or golf? What was your favorite vacation? Tell me what I don't know!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Paper Books / Child Published Books

I'm currently taking a class for future elementary educators that's all about ways to introduce writing into the classroom. Lately, we've been talking about in-classroom publishing and the different ways we can provide resources for students to 'publish' their books both with and without teacher supervision.

Books can be made from anything- a few pieces of stapled together paper or paint color samples, it's incredible really, and I'm excited to collect ideas before I enter the classroom.

One of our assignments was to search the internet for paper books that we could make/have our students make. We had to create four each ourselves and I wish I had pictures of the other books my classmates made because some of them were really creative. The four books I made are below.

1. Laminated Book

This book was made using a few pages of colored construction paper, my laminator, a hole punch, and some yarn. What I love about this book is that it looks shiny from the laminated pages and there are so many things you can do with it!

Probably my favorite thing about these laminated pages is that if you write on them with a sharpie, the words can be erased with an expo. This allows students to publish and edit as much as they want. Another option for this would be to laminate the pages with the words already printed and then allow students to draw the illustrations for the words. Illustrations could be changed endlessly. 

2. Paper Bag Book (1)

This book was super simple to make. I constructed it by cutting the bottom and sides off of a paper bag and then folding the two halves in half to form a book with a few pages inside. 

This paper bag was white and I added blue paper to cover the brand and to add some color. You could do that, or leave it blank for students to decorate themselves. I really liked how easy this book was to make, and that when it's closed it has handles to tote around.

3. Paper Book

This book was quite possibly the easiest book to make ever and I could definitely see this being utilized in any classroom. All you need is paper (colored or not) and a stapler and voilà- you have a book! These books could be readily available in a basket for younger students, and older students could be given the instructions and resources to make them on their own.

I like that these books can be so colorful, and students could even pick out their favorite colors or colors that go with their particular story.

 4. Paper Bag Book (2)

This book has so many possibilities! I made this book using three paper lunch sacks whole punched and attached at the middle to create pages. These little books are adorable, easily decorated, and have so many different ways to customize them it's ridiculous.

I got a little carried away working with the details on this one, but you could use different colored paper to show students which side they could illustrate and which side they could write their story, or just give them free ability to do whatever they wanted!
Possibly the best part of this book is that because it's made from a sandwich bag it still has the little openings which make the coolest little pockets to store things (leaves, pre-write notes, more illustrations, etc.) Whatever kids want to store they can stick in there (within reason) :)
What paper books have you made? What's the coolest paper book you've ever seen? Have any ideas for different materials to use? Let me know!
Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Latest Pins

I think that most people have heard of Pinterest at least once in their life, guys included. And why shouldn't they? Pinterest is great and should be utilized whenever possible. There are so. many. times when I've found things on Pinterest I would've never thought of on my own. I'm just not that creative, people.

I most often pin clothes, food, home décor (for the home I don't even have yet), and teacher-y things. My other boards include ones dedicated solely to inspirational verses, possible gifts, my wedding... oh gosh the list just goes on and on. But, I see it as an investment in my planning future... and not a waste of time.

So, I've decided to share my most recent three posts from some of my favorite Pinterest boards- secret ones and all.

1. The Dream Home

I pin about my dream home because I've always loved comfy, rustic spaces. My ideal dream home would be a farm house styled home with lots of wood and rock accents, hardwood floors, and bright accents.
1. - I love these crates (available a Michaels, I'm told) and the idea to put extra blankets and pillows in them. This is definitely something I want to try for my apartment next year.
2. This sign is just so cute, and so true.
3. I am in LOVE with this distressed turquoise pantry door. I don't even have a pantry, let alone a pantry door, but this makes me want one.

2. The Beginning of a We

I believe with my whole heart that God will bring two people together if it will benefit His Kingdom and his plan for both their lives and the overall greater good. I believe that marriage is a million more times important than a wedding, but that a wedding is also an incredible opportunity to share what the focus of your relationship is. And in my case, that focus will be God.

1. I think giving a watch to your groom the morning of the wedding would be adorable!
2. I don't usually pin rings, because I'll be 100% happy with whatever ring I'm blessed with, but I think this is gorgeous. Only downside (and 99% of people would probably disagree with me) is that I think the diamond is wayyy too big. I have tiny hands, and so I'd much prefer something smaller.
3. I love this outdoor setup, and the square tables. So cute.

3. God is Love

Any thing and everything God honoring goes in this board- verses, thoughts, resources- you name it!
1. I shared about them earlier, but I'm really enjoying reading the She Reads Truth devotionals every morning.
2. Love this. Bible verses are beautiful.
3. Also love this, nobody is perfect- but we're still loved.

4. If in Doubt, Run.

I used to say this a lot, especially when I was in high school and running. But, this board is for anything and everything athletic. Usually clothes and shoes. Hopefully someday I'll have a schedule normal enough to allow me to get back into running, because I really do love it when I'm in a routine.
1. Nike hoodies! Oh my goodness there are never enough hoodies in the world.
2. I love Nike running shoes, and I love the mint color. Sooo, if I could find these-  I would buy them.
3. Running tights are wonderful. If it was socially acceptable I would live in them.

5. Apartment/Dorm/College

Not to be confused with my earlier 'Dream Home' board, this board is strictly dedicated to things that will make my college life easier. Lately these pins have been geared toward inspiration for the place I'll be renting next year. Keep watch for these DIYs over the next few months.

1. This wood headboard looks so simple to do, and I'm positive my dad has enough wood around to help me figure it out in an afternoon. Definitely something I'm going to be looking into over the summer.
2. This desk/vanity space is ADORABLE. All three of these pictures sum up what I want my space to look like next year, but if nothing else I definitely want this.
3. I love this pallet bookshelf, another thing my dad and I could definitely get done in an afternoon. And again with that color. I'm in love.

6. Hair, Clothes, & The Like

Last, but not least, clothes! I've spent a lot of time thinking about my clothing options for next year, and this board is starting to reflect that. I'm going to be dressing professionally more often for student teaching, so I'm looking into buying things that can be both dressed up (for teaching) and dressed down (for other parts of life)
1. That tank top & those sandals. I want them both so much! So far, I haven't been able to find them. Anywhere. So if you see them around, let a girl know!
2. I love this polka dot shirt, and that the handbag and belt match.
3. This is my life in t-shirt form. Trying to decide if I should buy this one.

So that's what has been going on in my Pinterest world. What are your favorite pins lately? What board are you most proud of? If you post a similar post, let me know!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Dear Future Me,

 Right now, you sit in the third dorm room you've ever called home. It's mid-May, which means summer is soon approaching and one year from now you'll be gearing up for graduation. Wow. I just want you to know that no matter what happens a month from now, a year from now, or twenty years from now you'll be okay. That your dreams will come true, even if you discover new dreams, and that your life will be something you absolutely adore.

By this time next year, I hope you're happy. I hope you've loved the student teaching process, that you've been able to spend as much time as possible with your family and Ruby, and that you're excited about the future- not scared. I pray that you're making decisions using more of your heart and less of your head, and that whatever path you're on is where you really want to be. I pray that you listen to yourself.

I pray that you realize no matter what direction your life is heading, that that path is being guided by God. He has a plan that will far exceed any plan you have for your life to take, and even if it doesn't make sense to you now - it will. Enjoy being nudged out of your comfort zone and brought into new experiences, don't hold back. Be brave, take chances, share your faith.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" - Jeremiah 29:11

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3: 5-6

I pray that you've given 110% in everything that you've done and don't have anything to look back on with regret. I hope you've taken days to do nothing and relax when you've needed to. I hope you've eaten better, but kept going on those ice cream dates. I hope that you've made time for your friends and had people over for dinner. I pray that you've smiled more than you've been down.

And I hope that wherever life takes you after this next year, that you go with all of your heart.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why I Ditched 'The List'

I'm not sure where I picked the habit up, probably from all of those sappy teen movies I watched back in the day, but I've always had a running list in my head of what my 'perfect' guy would look like. This list wasn't always documented, although sometimes it was, and I found myself dwelling on it often. My young mind was convinced that no man would work out for me if he didn't perfectly align with the thirty bullet list of specifications I'd already chosen for him.

Some of the things on this list were very non-negotiable. For example, the number one thing on this list was always that the ideal guy for me would be a Christian, and this continues to be true. I wanted a guy who actively dedicated to his live to pursuing our Lord, and who was open about his faith.

Other things weren't as serious, although at the time they probably seemed to be a pretty big deal. He had to be tall, with perfect manners, and an amazing way with kids. He had to be a hard worker, determined, and athletic. He had to be educated/successful, live a farm/country/simple lifestyle, and make me happy. He had to know how to fix things, look killer in a suit, and drive a truck. He had to like/be liked by my family, love dogs, be fun to be around, and easy to talk to. And to round out the list... he had to be independent, honest, and give good hugs.

At the time when I made this list, it seemed very feasible, and I couldn't envision myself with anyone who wasn't the ideal clone of all of these qualities. Until I met my current boyfriend. Ry aligns very closely with a lot of the things on the list, but Ry is not defined by this list. And guess what, guys? I love him anyway.

It still remains that the number one thing on that list is the most important - and Ry definitely loves the Lord. But most of the other stuff? It doesn't even matter. He does have great manners, and is great with kids. He is a hard worker and has an amazing work ethic. He is pursuing an education and I have no doubt in my mind that he will find success in life. But does he live on a farm? No. Not even close. Does he know how to fix things? The things that matter. Like bad days.

It makes me so sad to think that I wasn't looking for this man who turned out to be absolutely perfect for me. And I'm glad that God was able to help me overlook my list of ridiculous requests and appreciate the millions of things he gave Ry that make up the list of qualities I love about him.

So, I encourage you- if you focus on a list, make sure that you're only focusing on the most important things. I pray that God brings you a man who is actively seeking a relationship with the Lord. I pray that he loves you and cherishes you as God has shown us how to love by being an honest man of integrity. And I pray that you are happy with wherever life takes the two of you.

A relationship created in the hearts of humans may be good, but a relationship held in the hands of God is far greater than anything we can plan.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five on Friday!

I'm new to this whole 'Five on Friday' concept, but literally every single one of my favorite bloggers are doing this little diddy week after week and I wanted to join in on the fun! So, here's my first (probably of many) Five on Friday post! I grabbed these questions from Katie's post, and loved the simple format.  Note my favorite blue vest and blue flannel (which you can't see because of my hair... but it's great I promise) that are from my favorite boutique that I talk about a little later.

Five movies I would/have watched more than once:
- The Prince & Me, princes AND farms? Count me in!
- Just Go With It - So funny. Anything with Adam Sandler, really.
- Toy Story - Awww. Just my favorite.
- A Cinderella Story - Her name is Sam, my name is Sam...
- Elf  - The best Christmas movie, ever.

Five books I would recommend:
- The Longest Ride - Again, cowboys. And love stories.
- Big God - Really easy read that opened my eyes.
- The Bible - For obvious reasons.
- A Walk to Remember - I cried so much. So much.
-The Fault in Our Stars - I also cried at this. I promise I don't just love sad books.

Five places I've visited (and favorite part):
-Seattle - Space Needle
-Disneyland - It was a surprise trip1
-Oahu - All of my favorite people were there!
-Las Vegas - The strip.
-Oregon. All of it. 

Five places I'd rather be right now:
-Riding my horse - It's been a few weeks :(
-Watching a movie with Ry - I love that boy
-Home - 8 more days.
-Somewhere sunny - This PNW weather is getting to me!
-In a cabin, by a fire, sipping hot chocolate. Which is a contrast to that last one.

Five favorite foods:
Hot dogs ( I know, it's weird)
Ice cream - any flavor, any time.
Raspberries - not fair that they're the most expensive fruit ever.
Peach flavored anything
Homemade blackberry pie

Five TV shows I watch:
-Heartland, Canadian horse farm tv show.
-Switched at Birth - Soooo good.
-Friends! - I've probably seen all of them with Ry.
-Say Yes to the Dress... it's a good show, okay!
-Anything on the Food Network - mainly when I'm hangry.

Five things I'm looking forward to this year:
-Seeing how my relationship with God grows
-Seeing how my relationship with Ry grows
-Entering the Education program, for reals!
-Looking for my first real job.
-Oh, and my best friend's wedding!!! (sorry, that was six)

Five things I say all the time:
-You know what I mean?
-You're a goon
-I love you
-Are you okay?
-I'm hungry.

Five favorite things I own:
-Anything I bought at my favorite boutique
-My Excursion
-My horse, Ruby
-My smash book!
-My pictures
Verse on the heart, complimented by the sunset tonight. Seriously guys, this day was sooo cloudy and gross and then whammo- beautiful evening, right as I start working. Hmph. But, that's the PNW for ya... How was your Friday? Did you do anything fun?
Also, today I made a button! Grab one from the side bar if you want! :)