Sunday, December 29, 2013

Recent Convictions

December is usually a happy, lighthearted month.  It's a month that is centered around family and friends, and giving to them, serving them and fellowshipping with them.  I love this time of the year because no matter how much your heart desires to give to people or serve them or even fellowship with people, it's hard to make yourself do any of those during the rest of the year with such a busy and hectic life; December gives you an excuse to make the extra time and spend the extra money on others.  Although December is an amazing month for happiness, I also think this is a time when our sin is more evident.

The past couple of weeks of December I've been feeling convicted for a few different things, and I wanted to share some of them with you all...because I'm hoping I am not alone!

1.  I'm so selfish.  While shopping for gifts for my family and close friends, I'm bombarded with really amazing sales through email or in the store.  I don't know if you guys have noticed, but this year is the year for cheap clothes.  I get at least one 50% off email a day and while that's really good if you're intentionally buying a gift for someone, I found myself shopping for myself instead.

2.  Anxiety still tempts me.  I have battled anxiety for about 3 years now.  Before allowing The Farmer into my life as my boyfriend, I went through a lot of social "drama" that really took a toll on my body and my mind.  Since then the constant threat of allowing anxiety to control my life has been an issue.  It does not come in the same form as it used to, but there are always little situations that leave me forgetting who my God is, and what the real purpose of this whole life is about.

3.  I have too many "things".  I look around my house and in my car and all I see are random, little things everywhere.  Who needs this many things?  No one.  My life would be much simpler if I didn't have as many material items to worry about.

4.  I need to strive to have a simpler life.  I should be content with my small kitchen and my out of date bathroom; I should be happy in my cozy livingroom and bedroom.  I want to clean out the spare room and get rid of clothes I don't need and other items that I don't need and give them to people who do need them.

5.  Pride.  I think every human being has pride inside of them.  It comes in many, many different forms and is expressed in multitudes of ways.  Most of the time, I don't even realize I'm being prideful until after the fact.  I definitely need to be more on guard.

6.  I need to give more time and money.  I have to give more time to serve and I have to give more money that will go to further the kingdom of God.  This past Summer I found myself empty.  I realized later that I was empty because I was not giving my body and heart to the Church like I should have done. Once I had this realization I decided to try prayer. I prayed a simple prayer: "God, I want to help you.  Please give me an opportunity to serve this Summer".  Not even twelve hours later I was asked by our children's' minister to help teach 5th grade girls on Wednesday nights and to this day, it is one night I always look forward to. That is one prayer God will answer really quick! Since praying this prayer recently, I have had the opportunity to "host" the Dress-A-Thon and it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.  I can only keep praying that God would continue to put opportunities in my path to serve Him and His people.

These have been really heavy on my heart lately.  I can only pray that God continues to change and mold my heart to be more like Him.

Heavy laden,

PS:  If you need prayer don't hesitate to email me at!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

13.1 -- Oh The Madness

On December 1, 2013, I ran my very first half marathon in Oak Ridge, TN.  It was one of the most physically challenging things I've ever done in my life, and it was also the most rewarding physical activity I've ever done.  All of those early mornings filled with long runs and the endless days of short runs finally paid off on this day.  If you have even a slight desire to run a half marathon, DO IT!

Here are some pictures from our run:

I was lucky enough to run this with one of my best friends.  I couldn't have done it without having someone to push me throughout the past few months of training.  (One thing we both wish we would have done differently is to eat healthier while training....we didn't necessarily eat "bad" but we definitely didn't fill our bodies with enough super foods...oh well, next time that will be on the list for training for sure!)
 If I have any advice for first time runners it's this:  if you're running a race far away (I recommend that, there's more excitement to your views!), go up a day early.  Our race was on Sunday, we got to town on Friday night and had a whole day to relax and piddle around. This helped relax me and make the weekend about more than just a race.
Looking rough at 7AM

Good moment.

This post wouldn't be complete without a HUGE "thank you" directed at my mom.  She was our driver, coach, organizer and friend on this amazing weekend.  I enjoyed spending this time with her; we couldn't have had a stress free, enjoyable weekend without her taking care of us and being there to hangout with!

Go run people,

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dress-a-thon "Wearing a dress for hope"

I have some really exciting news to share with all of you!  For the past couple of weeks I have been planning an event that ALL of you can participate in.  I don't know if any of you have heard of Dressember before, but the Dress-A-Thon is it's "sister" program to raise awareness for sex trafficking and to spread the word about Dressember 2014!

How Dressember works:  It started as a fashion challenge to wear a dress everyday of December and to celebrate femininity.  It has grown into a campaign to raise money and awareness for sex trafficking.  All the money raised during Dressember is donated directly to the International Justice Ministry (a ministry dedicated to physically saving women and children from sex trafficking while sharing the Gospel).  Dressember has grown into a huge campaign in just a few years and just in 2013 it has raised $100,000 for IJM (and December isn't even over yet).

Unfortunately, Dressember is almost over and I was unable to start from day 1.  So, instead of waiting another 11 months, I decided to help spread the word throughout the next year so that more women in my area would know about it and so more awareness of sex trafficking could be spread!

I have the great pleasure to introduce to you the DRESS-A-THON! From February 1-15, 2014, we will be wearing a dress everyday for 2 whole weeks! Starting January 1, 2014 I will be having sign ups on my blog.  By signing up, you will be entered into a daily email list that will be written to give encouragement throughout the two week period, receive pictures of women and children that you are helping to save and you will have the chance to send in pictures of you wearing your dresses that will be shown in the email list to give ideas to all the other ladies who are signed up, AND your photos will be put into a video that will be sent out on the last day of the Dress-A-Thon!

The Rules:

1.  You must wear a dress everyday, not a skirt (unless you have circumstances that won't allow you to wear a dress).
2.  There are some exceptions to wearing a dress:  if you are not allowed to wear a dress to work, or you have to wear a uniform, you do NOT have to wear a dress, if you're sleeping you do NOT have to wear a dress, and if you're exercising you do NOT have to wear a dress.  The main thing to remember is that if you have an choice in what you wear, you must wear a dress!
3.  A long shirt over leggings does NOT count as a dress!
4.  It is OKAY to wear leggings, panty hoes, tights, jeans or shorts under the dress!
5.  You must follow the previous rules for 2 whole weeks (Feb. 1-15, 2014)
6.  This is not a "rule" per-say, but we encourage you all to post Instagram pictures, Facebook pictures and even post tweets to show everyone your dresses so that more people will know what we're fighting for!


1.  How do I join in?
>  On January 1, 2014 (at midnight) the sign ups for the Dress-A-Thon will begin here on my blog.  There will be a tab (at the top of the page, under my title) named "Dress-A-Thon Signups".  You will click on the tab and fill out the form that loads on the page and you will begin receiving emails on February 1, 2014!

2.  How do I send you my pictures?
>  Starting February 1, 2014, there will be yet another tab at the top of my blog that will say "Submit Photos for Dress-a-Thon" (or something along those lines) and you will have a form that will allow you to upload and submit and photo that will come straight to me!

3.  Is there a modesty dress code?
>  There are no set rules for modesty because we are following the rules of Dressember and we desire to be as inclusive as possible, but I personally would like to encourage modesty while you participate.  We are not representing just a campaign, but God.

4.  Can I wear any type of shoes with the dresses?
>  YES! We want to encourage everyone to be as creative as possible with your outfits.

5.  Do I have to wear a different dress everyday of the challenge?
>  NO!  Do not feel like you have to go out and buy a lot of dresses.  This is not designed to make anyone spend a bunch of money.

6.  Dressember is a sponsorship program, do we have to get sponsors for the Dress-A-Thon?
>  No, the Dress-A-Thon is not a sponsorship event.  This is strictly to raise awareness for sex trafficking and to increase interest for Dressember 2014! If someone wishes to donate, they can donate directly to the International Justice Ministry or they can donate directly to (which will all go to IJM).

7.  What does IJM do exactly? Where is their money spent?
>  Click here to read a full explanation at how they help those trapped in the sex trafficking cycle.

If you have any more questions, fill out the form below to submit them and I will create another post to answer all questions!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

DIY December: Address Book

The art of the address book is dying.  My generation specifically is one that will probably cause the card and stationary industry some heartache.  We send Facebook messages and e-cards and when it's your birthday, you'll probably get photos of you and your friends posted on Instagram with a very kind, heartfelt message attached.  Don't get me wrong, I love these things.  It's nice to log on it to these websites on special days and see the amazing messages, but I also appreciate getting actual mail.  There's nothing like receiving a tangible Christmas card or letter.

Because I sent out Christmas cards, I kept track of the addresses this time, so now, I can stop asking for addresses and already have them ready for any occasion! Here's how I made mine:

What you'll need:

- a very small notebook (moleskins are always a good brand, but they can expensive.  I got mine at Office Depot and looks just like one...$3)
- kraft cardstock, or kraft colored paper
- thin sharpie
- washi tape


1.  Cut a small rectangle out of your kraft paper.

2.  Use your sharpie and write a title like "records", "My Address Book", or something else.

3.  Position the rectangle on the book and use the washi tape to tape it down.

4.  On the first page use the washi tape to make a tab and write "Addresses" on it.

5.  Flip to the back and section off a small section of pages and create another tab and write "Birthdays" on it.

Now you have a new address book!

Enjoy not having to scramble for names and places ever again,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sharing Traditions: Hannah

Two weeks after The Farmer and I got married, his oldest brother married Hannah.  We are both very thankful for their friendship and that we are able to call them both family.

I hope you enjoy reading Hannah's tradition that she is going to share with you today!


Some people like to sing. Some people love to sing. Some people even love to SANG. My affection usually vacillates between the three, depending on mood, though the same warms feelings are not usually displayed by those listening. For the past 4-5 years, I’ve been invited to carol with my best friend and her Von Trapp family in the hard streets of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Norman Family (or the Von Trapp Family Singers, as I call them) has a talent for music – that is one of their many skills as a family. This being so, the way they choose to serve their community during Christmas time is by bringing the yuletide spirit. Now, don’t get me wrong - this is not caroling for the faint-hearted; this is a Jesus-included, Christmas sweater required, eggnog swigging(or punch or hot chocolate  - they aren’t picky) type of caroling. Intense.
Each year before Christmas, our group of about twenty family members, friends and church goers would assemble at the Norman house and then we would embark. The Von Trappswould have prepared song lyric sheets ahead of time, assuring that each cheer-giver could not only participate but also use the sheets as shields against thrown fruit or vegetables. The last couple years we’ve equipped ourselves with flashlights and have experienced far less injuries walking from house to house.
There were many times we sang to unopened doors and shut blinds, only to see people peek out after the end of each song, covertly checking for our departure. There were also times, times that made freezing to “Deck the Halls” the halls for the 15th time in one night worthwhile, when a homeowner or sometimes, whole families would join us on their porch to sing. The Norman’s willingness to host the carolers each December allowed us a chance to spread the joy of Christ’s birth with complete strangers – a feat that many of us had hesitated to accomplish throughout the rest of the year.
The Norman family and friend Christmas Caroling is a night that I begin to look forward to as soon as the first leaves turn. It is a Christmas tradition that is sorely missed when I cannot make it, and one that I will always look fondly back on.


Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY December: The Extra Mile on Envelopes

I just did a post on how I made my christmas cards and now I'm going to show you guys what I did to add a little the envelopes I used for them.  This doesn't require much of an intro so I'm just gonna get started!

What you'll need:

- Envelopes
- Washi tape of you choice (You can use one or two colors for this)
- Sharpie


1.  Lay out your envelope and tear off 2-3, 2 inch strips of washi tape.

2.  Tape the pieces in the top, lefthand corner of the envelope and tape them right next to each other.

3.  Write your name, address, city and zip code onto the washi tape, then write the address of the person you are sending the item to in the center of the envelope.

4.  Put your item inside the envelope and lick that nasty glue stuff and shut it.

5. Lastly, use the other color of washi tape, or the same color, and tear off a piece and put it on the seal of the envelope.

It's not much, but I like the extra touch it adds to the envelope!

I love washi tape,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

DIY December: Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

One of the fun, quirky things to partake in on Christmas morning is pouring our your stocking to find small useful treats.  You may find candy, jewelry, electronics, makeup and much more, and everything that is squeezed into your stocking is just another little gift that puts a huge smile on your face.  The best thing about stocking stuffers is that you can get them at the very last minute, from anywhere.  Below are some things I put in our stockings!

Lip Products

You can never go wrong with some chap stick, lip gloss or lip stick (EOS Lip-balm - $2.50, Burt's Bees Lip-balm duo pack - $3.50).  Guys like chap stick, girls like gloss; you just can't lose.

Nail Polish

If there's a girl you're buying stocking stuffers for, get nail polish (Essie's Go Overboard - $7).  It's another easy, and well received gift.

Christmas Socks

Everyone loves the goofy, fuzzy Christmas socks that are in abundance this time of year (Toe socks - $3, Reindeer socks - $3).  They're not only fun, but their actually useful during the winter, especially if you have a wood floor.

Electronic Accessories

Another gift that you can't go wrong with is any electronic accessory.  I got the Farmer and I a car charger for our phones ($5 each), but a phone case, headphones or wireless charger would be great as well.


Small candles are a good, cheap stocking stuffer (both candles - $1.50 each)

I hope this solves your stocking stuffer needs,

DIY December: Unique Wrapping #2

I have decided to acknowledge my obsession with kraft paper and washi tape.  If you have read any of my recent posts, you may have noticed that almost every DIY December post has included either kraft paper or washi tape...or both. But guys, I paid roughly $8 for two rolls of washi tape and one roll of craft paper. How could I not use it all up? Because I'm on a roll this Christmas season with wrapping and "DIY-ing", I have another way to wrap your last minute gifts with kraft paper...and washi tape.

What you'll need:

- washi tape
- kraft packaging paper
- scrap fabric
- sharpie
- cardstock or a manilla folder


1.  Wrap your gift like you would with normal wrapping paper.

2.  Take your spare fabric and cut a slit on the side that will make the longest ribbon.  Make sure and cut the strip with about 1/2 an inch of width.

3.  Start tearing the fabric all the way down.

4.  Tie the fabric/ribbon around the box as you wish and tie a tight knot or bow on top.

5. Cut a small rectangle our of your cardstock or manilla folder and use the sharpie to write the name of the person you are giving the gift to. You can also skip this step and just write their name in sharpie on the wrapping paper.

6.  Tape the corners of the rectangle down with the washi tape (Place the name tag wherever you like)

Very cute if I do say so myself.

Enjoy the wrapping,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My 18 Lessons

I celebrated my 19th birthday on January 5.  Over the past  19 years I have learned quite a few lessons.  I am amazed at how God has been continually evident in my life, even before I committed my life to Him.  He was always there, leading me through trials and tests with His gentle and firm hands.  I would not be who I am today without His loving guidance.  Today I'm going to share 18 things I have learned during my 18th year of life.

1.  I am an introvert.  I love to be at home and have quiet, quaint nights and days.  When I spend lots of time with people for a few days at a time, I need this quiet, peaceful time to recharge and refresh myself.  Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with people; I love to laugh really loud, go out late with friends and have great conversations with family.  Even though I love those things, I also need an equal amount of quiet.

2. God is slowly changing my heart to love simpler things.  I have always struggled with materialism and like I said in my Recent Convictions post, I am tempted to buy things, even when I don't need them or when it's not the right time to buy.  I have noticed in the past year that my heart is different.  I don't buy as many clothes, or desire as many material things as I used to.  Lately, I've even had desires to have much less.  This change is not of my own doing, God is changing who I am, into who He wants me to be.

3.  Being a wife is such a blessing.  For years I dreamed of being married; now that I have an amazing husband, I am so thankful for the chance to be his wife.  There are so many blessings that come with the title.  I have begun to learn to serve someone I love every single day of my life.  Plus, The Farmer adds joy to any day and that is a huge blessing in its self.

4. I am always in a season of life, and this season will someday change.  I need to enjoy each and every season that I pass through, because before I know it, it will be gone and a new chapter of my life will begin.

5. I let things bother me too much. I am always reading into words and actions and interpreting one thing, while the other person doesn't mean those things at all! I'm glad I am beginning to notice this in myself so that I can begin to let things roll off my back. 

6.  I am fueled off of creativity. Anything that involves using my hands to make something is something I'm willing to try. 

7.  Being outdoors is my favorite. I remember being little and having some traumatic experiences with the outdoors. I would refuse to go outside because of my fear of bugs and dogs. I just knew as soon as I stepped outside, I would be a magnet for both. I am SO SO SO thankful that God has taken the fear of nature away from me. No, I am not "BFFs" with all the cool bugs out there, but I love being outside. I love running, camping, canoeing, hiking, climbing, picnics, long walks, gardening, farming, swimming in ponds, playing in the snow, BBQ-ing, and much more.

8. When in doubt: Anthropologie. When I have a design idea, I go to Anthropologie and try and find a way to DIY what I need with inspiration from them. 

9.  There are better things out there than myself. 

10. Materialism leads to an empty, constantly searching life. I do not want this sin to root itself any deeper into my life. 

11.  Eating healthy is much more than a way to lose weight: our bodies are temples to The Lord, and the food we put inside it is just as important to consider as how you use and protect your body from sin.

12.  Every friend that I have in my life right now...I want them to stay here forever. I know people change and we all enter into different seasons of life at different times, but as I sit here thinking of all my friends, I really hope and pray God keeps them in my life despite the change in seasons.

13.  I am a gift giver. My love language is gift giving/physically serving. I love to buy people gifts and surprise them. I also love random acts of "work" that can help brighten a day or make a day easier. 

14.  My God is constant. EVERYTHING in my life has changed. High school to college, single to married, old to new, my parents' home to my home and dog-less to proud dog owner. Every part of my life is new. I've started finding comfort in the routine of change. I have been through so much change that I know it will never stop, but my God remains. 

15.  My God goes before me. He knows the path, the obstacles and the pain; he created them all! I have to remember this when I am faced with doubt.

16.  The time I spend with people is as precious as jewels. I will always remember the little coffee dates, movie nights, quilting time and late nights at Applebee's (half off appetizers, guys), bowling, skating or being crazy in Walmart. These sweet memories will keep me company as I grow older. 

17.  The Farmer and I are not just married, we are fighting against the sin of the other, in order to help each other become more like Jesus (sanctification).

18.  Being an adult is hard but rewarding. There are bills, responsibilities and cleaning to be done, but among the craziness there are moments of freedom that you have dreamt your whole life to have. 

Cheers to 19,

Sharing Traditions: Leeandra

This Sharing Traditions post is going to be written by my good friend, Leeandra.  I hope you all enjoy what she has to share and if you like her writing here, be sure and check out her blog, A Saints Heart.  She posts daily devotionals and thoughts she has throughout the day.  I have loved reading her posts and enjoying the encouragement they bring!

I hope you love Leeandra as much as I do!


My family's Christmas traditions tremendously differ from other families. We use a fake tree, we don't decorate the entire house, and lights are forbidden, by my dad, to go on the outside of our home. So how does Christmas tradition come into play with my family? Each year there are two things that are considered a custom for my family. The first Christmas practice seems unorthodox, while the other tradition seems just that-traditional.

My family is very close, but every Christmas one thing is for sure- my family struggles to want to "do" Christmas. Yes, we love the feelings, the meaning, the food and the presents that come with Christmas, but getting there always seems like a hopeless endeavor. My brother always struggles to find the drive to climb to the top of the garage and throw down a 40 pound, fake Christmas tree. My dad always grapples with wanting to stop everything to set up a tree that will only be up for a month. My mom strives to keep her composure while dealing with my brother and my dad's less than festive attitudes, and I always feel like I'm caught in the middle fighting my own battle. While this may not be a warm and fuzzy tradition, it's our tradition. My family's tradition. 

My family's second Christmas tradition much more tender and traditional.Every year, even since before I was born, my dad's best childhood friend comes over on Christmas Eve. He was the best man at my parents wedding, he is about 6'5",  and has never gotten married. But like clockwork, and without calling, he always shows up on Christmas Eve. We eat a big meal, gather to watch It's a Wonderful Life, and our family friend stays to visit with my parents long after my brother and I have gone to bed. This sounds much more like a classic tradition to me!

So what do these two traditions have in common? They have family in common. 

Our first tradition sounds more like a battle than a tender sacrifice, but after we have fought the battle we always have a deeper feeling of love for each other. We each go out of our way for the people that we love the most, and we don't get caught up in a  "perfect" Christmas. We remember that Christmas isn't about all of the worldly things, it's about thankfulness towards what Christ did.

 Our second tradition is also about family, but not blood kin. My dad's best friend has been grafted into my family. He is a fixture in the Wells family, even if we sometimes only see him once a year. He's not our "real" family, but we desire to make him part of our family. For several years now the relationship with our family friend has represented how I became part of God's family. God desired to make me part of His family, He didn't force me, He just showed me how badly He craved for me to become part of His family through salvation. John 1:12 says "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name"
Traditions range so greatly from one family to the next, each provides something unique to their individual family. My family certainly brings their own form of interpretation to traditions. Our traditions aren't perfect, model or normal, but they're our Christmas traditions. 


Monday, December 16, 2013

DIY December: Christmas Cards

My family has never been a huge Christmas card group.  We receive a ton of them, but we never have sent any out.  I think part of why we never did was because my brother and I were always active in some kind of sport, club or activity that required so much time and effort during this time of the year and because we were always so busy that was one Christmas tradition that never became part of our lives.  Well, now that I am "on my own" and married, I like the idea of Christmas cards and this is the first year that I have sent some out.  Below is how I made mine.

The planning of this card design was very sporadic.  At first, I wasn't going to send any out because of the craziness of college and finals, then I got a couple from other people in the mail and I was hooked.  I remembered a post I read from another blogger about her past Christmas cards, and one of them inspired the design I made.  This is not a digital design, this is very much homemade.

What you'll need:

- 2 rolls of washi tape (you can choose your colors, I went with the green I used in my present wrapping post)
- Either kraft card-stock, or a kraft colored paper
- scissors
- a 4x6 picture of your choice
- a thin sharpie
- a regular pen


1.  Fold your paper in half and trim until it is 5x7.

2.  Position the picture on the front of the card and tape it down.  I used the green color of tape and taped just the top right corner of the picture.  Make sure to leave room at the top!

3.  Use your sharpie and write any message of your choice, in any way you choose, above the photo:  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc.

4.  Then below the picture write who it is from:  love, the jones; from, the jones, etc.

5.  Lastly, flip the card over and write a personal message that is specific to each person you're sending it to.

I liked the personal part of making these cards.  I also loved handwriting everything on each card.  These have gone out and I hope my friends and family enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Merry Almost Christmas,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

DIY December: Advent Wreath With Mason Jars

This is the first year I have done anything intentionally for Advent.  I've always known what it was and I've always celebrated with my church, but I have never done much with Advent in my own home.  Like I said in my Christmas stockings post, The Farmer and I both want to establish traditions this Christmas and having our own Advent wreath was one of the major items we wanted to incorporate into our Christmas.  SO I saw one of my favorite bloggers post a picture of their "Advent wreath" and I was inspired by theirs to make one that reflected our family...if you know me at all (or if you were at my wedding for even a millisecond), you know I love mason jars; obviously I HAD to use mason jars.

What you'll need:

- 4 clear, small mason jars
- 1 large, blue mason jar
- 4 white, small candles
- 1 red, small candle
- a very small wreath
- lace ribbon
- 1 manilla folder
- 1 black sharpie


1.  Cut out 5 rectangle labels from the manilla folder and write numbers 1-5 on each of the labels.

2.  Lay out all 5 of the mason jars and cut and attach the lace ribbon around the rings of the mason jars.

3.  Put the candles inside the mason jars, put the red candle in the blue mason jar.

4.  Find a shelf or table to display your "wreath" and put the large, blue mason jar inside the small wreath and position the number 5 in front of the jar, then put numbers 1 and 2 on to the left of the blue jar and number 3 and 4 to the right of the blue jar.

We sit down on Sunday nights and read sections of Luke or John as we work our way to the birth of Christ, which we will read on Christmas Eve.  While we read, we light a new candle each week.  The first Sunday we light candle number 1 and then so on, so forth.

I'm really loving our new Advent tradition and I hope this follows us for years to come!

Happy Advent,