the one where i’m almost done with college

I literally have one day of class left at the University of Tennessee. SAY WHAT?? Whenever I think about it for too long, I definitely have a major out of body experience. I’m super excited about the coming days and weeks and months–getting celebrate this weird transition with lots of people that I love. I’m excited about the fall; it gives me good butterflies–learning how to teach (going to school, to be a teacher is a funny concept when you think about it) and hopefully finding a big girl job along with it. In all the excitement and happy-nervous-jitters, I’ve also been feeling really nostalgic. Looking back over the past four years is kind of overwhelming…there are so many memories and so many things that I’ve learned. Maybe I can pinpoint a handful of things that stick out.

Learning what it means to live in light of The Gospel — That time when Jessie and I slipped and slid into fall…and yellow jackets — Small group with Lauren. And her banana bread — Scream-Singing in the Cheetah kitchen — Learning to be honest with people — Raves at Hodges Library — That time when our house had fleas, a gas leak, broken AC, etc…all in one semester — Meeting/crying/laughing with Jen at Panera — Laughing alot — Crying alot — Never having enough Tom-Head — Learning to try to live in the present and not worry about the future — Summer Bible study with Steph — Finally majoring in something other than “undecided” #englishmajor — Watching The Bachelor on Monday nights — Conversations on the back porch swing — Dance Parties — Young Life at Webb — New Years in Nashville — freaking out about who to ask to date parties freshman year — running from Laurel to the Lane Kiffin riot, complete with burning mattresses — Learning the importance of community and authenticity — Working at Cedar Springs with LTP aka best job ever — Walks at the boulevard — Road trips with friends — Learning that peace from the Lord is like manna…perfect provision for each day — Running up and down the halls of Laurel when the power went out — Learning to lay my insecurities at the feet of Jesus — Eating with Ben & Jerry in Humes — Anxiously awaiting each episode of LOST — Learning what it looks like to stand in the grace and righteousness of Christ — Desiring to treasure Christ most and learning to trust Him

Whoa baby. I feel like I just word vomited all over this post. That stuff might not make sense to anyone but me. And that’s just the tip of the ice-berg. I love that the Lord has been walking with me through all of it. I love that He draws me to himself so creatively…whether it be as I scream-sing in the kitchen or as I go for a walk or as I cry my eyes out or as I jam out driving down the road or as I laugh til I pee my pants.  He walked before me in all of it and he goes before me now!

Hallelujah.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” Exodus 16

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celebrate

Saturday was a day of celebration.

I slept til 11. Whoa baby. Reason #1 to celebrate. Woke up refreshed and rested. Knowing it was a new day. And ate some yogurt + granola + strawberries. YUM.

I got to celebrate Toni, a fellow Webb Young Life teammate, and her birthday with several friends that afternoon. We surprised her with balloons, flowers, and a special little present to let her know how much we love and appreciate her. It was so sweet to catch up with friends I hadn’t spent time with in quite a while!  Loved every minute of just chillin’ out in a warm house at the Lawler residence.

Then I was able to celebrate one of my bestest friends, Rebecca Marshall Cox, and her 22nd year-o-living her life. Rocking it old school, we went to Silver Spoon and laughed so hard. Our waiter, Spencer, had his hands full to say the least. Then we got together with a bunch of girls (+ a few token boys) and danced our hearts out at a little gem of a place called Sassy Ann’s as requested by the Birthday Girl! It was such a fun night. I’m so thankful to have these girls to walk through life with.

beautiful birthday girl, rockin' her new do.

december

merry christmas, happy holidays.

love, n’sync.

I got a brand spankin’ new camera for my birthday/christmas and I can already tell I’m going to love it. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. “Auto” mode is my best friend right now…

Jules asked for a nerf-gun from Santa this year…so naturally he brought us two so we could battle. Duh. It was fun to get a “toy” this year that we could play with on Christmas day. I have already been shot in the face twice, so I’m not sure about my career in the Nerf Army.

Jules and I have almost twinky birthdays. Back-to-back: December 27 and 28. I love celebrating with her two days in a row. It kinda feels like we both have two birthdays

My birthday consisted of Dunkin Donuts coffee, a cheeseburger from Sullivans, crafting/laughing/singing with Cass and Bec, chowing down on my favorite cake with my family, ice-skating and eating at Tom-Head with Ryan, and surprise fun with my friends. Loved every minute of it!

Thankful for people who love me well. Thankful that Emanuel has come and God is with us. Praying that this truth really sinks into my heart…

We spend most of our lives trying to make things happen for ourselves and for the people we love. But life is not reduced to what you give or know or achieve. Nor is it reduced to your mistakes, your failures, or your sin. life isn’t even defined by whome you love. Rather, it is defined by the God who loves you. In other words, you are not the central character–not even of your own life’s story. This is not meant to demean you; it is meant to set you free.

–M. Craig Barnes

http://thebomb.com/weekend

This weekend was long, restful, full of beautiful autumn weather, and praying for friends at Windy Gap. Let me give you some highlights…

I was absolutely in love with the weather this weekend. I’m so thankful I got to get outside and enjoy it. I wasn’t stuck inside studying…three cheers for a light load of school work this week! I was able to go for a walk with my mama, tail-gate a little bit before the game, spend time with my mom and dad cheering on the Vols, park it on a bench and read a book (for fun), and sit on my back porch swing. Hands down, fall is my fave.

Not only do I love fall weather, but I love the taste of fall. This weekend makes round 2 of pumpkin goodies I’ve made since October hit (the first being cece’s famous pumpkin bread)–I’m on a roll! I decided to brave the kitchen and make pumpkin-choco-chip muffins Friday afternoon so we could munch on them all weekend. They actually tasted pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I’ve been attempting to bake/cook a teeensy bit more since I tend to struggle in that department. I don’t have any pictures to prove that I made them…so you’re gonna have to take my word for it.

On Friday night, I got to eat yummy Mexican food, sit next to my friend & roommate Brittany Taylor, and watch her be dominated by whipped cream while wearing a sombrero…all to celebrate her birthday! We got to sit out on the Cheetah back porch the night before (her actual day of birth) and enjoy the glorious fall evening weather, but we extended the celebration for a birthday dinner the next night. My motto is, you should celebrate your Birthweek…not just your Birthday. DUH.

I also got to hang out with this kid most of the weekend! “The funny sister” as all my roommates have dubbed her. I love that the Cheetah is your home-away-from-home.

After the tough loss to the Tigers, we finished Friday Night Lights. Done-zo. Over. Gone. When we finally finished the finale at 1:30 in the morning–aka waaaay past my bedtime–Meredith and I’s depression ensued. I’m being a little dramatic, but not really. It was totally bittersweet finishing the series…happy because of course we wanted to see what happened, but sad because it’s OVER. Although, word on the skreet is that a movie is in the works with all of the same characters…Ryan’s guess is that it’ll be called Clear Eyes Full Hearts. I’m crossing my fingers! You better believe I’d be at the midnight showing. I love you, Coach Eric Taylor.

That’s all for now. Guess I better go start watching Parenthood now that FNL is over. (kidding. kind of).

This is how I feel today…

Happy Monday!

the weekend lacking of labor

Labor Day Weekend 2k11. So much to love about it!

Good ole college football kicked off. I’m not one of those people that counts down the days til the Vols run through the “T” (which they actually didn’t even do this game thanks to the torential downpour and 1.5 hour delayed start) but I sure am psyched about this season! I love me some Derek Dooley. I might have a coach crush on him. He was sporting some prrretty good-looking orange pants on Saturday–and I think maybe some cowboy boots underneath?…the jury’s still out on that one though.

Normally, I would say booms-day-til-i-die…but this year, the weather scared me off. My sweatshirt felt so good and the spaghetti the Brooks were making smelled too delicious to pass up. Even though I didn’t go to Boomsday, I still was able to experience some good ole redneck fashion. That’s right people, the annual Boomsday Dance Party. It was at Meg Davis’ barn aka the absolute perfect place to get dooown.

it's sad that i was taking a real life bite in this picture.

Then on Monday, it rained and rained and rained some more. I hung out at the Cheetah and watched Friday Night Lights all–day–long. Pretty perfect day if ya ask me! Then Ryan and I went on our boooooms-date that night. We’ve been bf/gf for 365 days now! (insert fireworks here). We ate like kings and queens at Calhouns on the River and then made some blueberry cobbler for dessert. Yummm in my tum. I loved spending time with him!

go big orange. matching jerseys last year. we planned it.

Labor day weekend. Check. Enjoyed every minute of it!

this will be. an everlasting love.

I am beyond ecstatic to announce that Abigail Troutman is now Abigail Troutman Fennell: wife of Andrew Fennell.

Gah. What a good-looking couple. They will make some good-looking babies one day…years from now of course. I still cannot believe they are married! It’s been a long time coming…since 8th grade to be exact. I loved everything about Wedding Week…the bridesmaid’s luncheon, the rehearsal dinner, and just hanging out with abs. Everything leading up to the big day was such a gift. I was so thankful that we were able to celebrate and just enjoy being with each other! Abby is so filled with the joy of Jesus, she is wise, she is thoughtful, encouraging, life-giving, and loving. I’m so blessed to call her my friend and Andy now has her as a bestfriend/roommate. What a lucky guy.

This picture was taken when we were freaking out in a little closet with fans blowing at all angles (hence the windblown hair) because Abs was about to walk down that aisle!

Here are the lyrics to the song “Speak, O Lord” that Amy Beth sang during the ceremony. I will never be able to listen to this song without tearing up…

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

This picture is hilarious. I don’t even know what to say about it besides LOL.

so fresh and so clean

I’m so fresh and so clean clean because I went to TWO showers yesterday. Count ’em: one, two. (cue hearty laughter/eye rolls) First, I went to Jen Pinkner’s baby shower. I’m so glad I was able to celebrate with her! I’ve been meeting with her since the fall and boy have I been blessed by this woman. She is so wise and her love for Jesus is so evident just sitting with her. Baby Jack is going to be ecstatic to find out his mom is thebomb.com.

Then came Abby’s wedding shower. Abby is my Young Life team leader and pretty much a stud. We hit it off from day one. (I also like to think that we are twins and that I am her honorary junior bridesmaid). I love that we met just a year ago when I became a leader at Webb, and that now I would most def say she is one of my dear friends. I loved being able to celebrate with her last night as she’s getting ready to be a married whoa-man!

So glad I got to spend time with these people that I love and celebrate with them during these fun times of life!

2011

Nashville. Definitely on the list of my top favorite things.

I went this past weekend to go cheer on the Vols and ring in the New Jear (Holla back Dave Barnes)–Nashvegas style babay. Ryan, two of his roomies, and I witnessed the tragedy that is the Music City Bowl. There are no words. But a picture is worth a thousand so here is one heck of a picture for ya…

Note the happy orange people swamping the field and the trophy/winner’s ceremony backdrop being rolled onto the field. Unbelievable. At least it was a memorable game. And we got even more football than we bargained for–double OT. Nothin’ like it.

After the infamous game, we drove to our friend Betsy’s house where we stayed for the next two days. There was laughter and catch phrase and sweet rolls and Jackson Lake and more football. Loved just hanging out with these people that are way cooler than me. 

New Year’s eve we went to Jackson’s (Y-U-M) for our last meal of MMX and, after much deliberation, decided to venture downtown for a free concert feat. the legendary Phil Vasser and to witness the dropping of a guitar on Broadway to ring in the new year. I think it was the first New Year’s Eve that I spent NOT predominately in a house, so that was different and fun. Phil Vasser’s “The Hot Tub Song” was definitely a crowd favorite…”I wanna get get get get get get get get get in a hot tub.” As do I Phil. As do I.

I decided that 2010 was my favorite year thus far. I can definitely say that the Lord has stretched me and grown me so much since last January 1st. I love that I have absolutely no idea what this new decade has in store. And I love that God designed life to get better and better with each day as we seek to follow him and live out of a desire to choose him and not ourselves. So bring it on, 2011.

To still writing “#-#-2010” on everything for another month and a half. Cheers.

forever twenty-one

So I turned 21 on December 27th. Now I can legally buy alcohol and gamble in Vegas babaay…look out world. But in all seriousness, it’s been a great first few days as a 21 year old woman. Twenty-one is a great age. Probably the reason why there is a store named after it.

My DOB (date of birth) was filled with lots of favorites: I rang in my birth with some of my dearest friends aka some of my favorite people on planet earth. I got to eat my birthday lunch with my favorite family at one of my favorite restaurants…Tomato Head (can I get a yummmmmm?). My momma made my favorite cake: chocolate chip cake (yummmm x 2). And my favorite boy took me out to dinner to celebrate.

my sweet friends that celebrated with me!

my b-e-a-utiful sister who turned the big 1-8 the next day

dancin' in the kitchen. (sing to the tune of "dancin' in the moonlight") it's our new song cass-a-frass.

my favorite boy

Can’t wait to see what this year has in store. I know I can’t be 21 for forever, so I want to soak up every bit of it!