Hello Sweet Cheer: September 2014


My Most Favorite Reads

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I decided to do a little Reading Roundup today!  Here are my top three favorite blogs, and a little bit about why.

(picture property of Jessica Garvin and Little Baby Garvin Blog)

     I love love love Jessica Garvin.  She has the sweetest girls, Harper Eve and Eloise Ruby, and dresses them like the most fashionable baby models you ever did see.  Not to mention she's beautiful, stylish, a super mom and pretty funny, too.  She also jump started me on my love for chalk boarding, she is phenomenal!  The main reason I love her blog so much is because of her writing style.  I find that she is very conversational and real in her writing and that's usually what I'm drawn to.  I can tell my boyfriend, "My favorite blogger _______ (fill in the blank)" and he knows exactly who I'm talking about!

(picture property of Ryan Hargrave and Loved and Lovely Blog)

     Ryan Hargrave, of Loved and Lovely, is just the most fun writer and has the SWEETEST little girl, Grace.  I love reading about her life updates and hearing about her life as a working momma!  I've been reading for a little over a year now and I am so glad I found her!  She is entertaining and sweet and loves Jesus, which is great!  She adds a different element to my blog reading because I occasionally get to read something deep about what Jesus is doing in her life, which is super cool.

T H R E E ::  Texas Mrs.

(picture property of Allison Skinner and Texas Mrs. Blog)

     Allison Skinner, of Texas Mrs, is another one of my favorites!  She is super blunt and honest in her posts, which I really love.  She does a great job of writing about what she caress bout and what is going on in her life.  Shei s currently going through the IVF process to make a little Baby Skinner!  Hoping and praying the Lord fulfills the desires of her and Ross's hearts!


Blog reading is such a joy and I don't think I would be the blogger I am today without the influence of the bloggers of which I get to be a reader!  



Beneath the Surface

     Hi lovelies!  Doing a little evening blogging sesh at the moment.  I recently discovered the Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks...let me tell you, my mind is blown.  I really like it and I'm sort of surprised honestly!  Glad to have a new go-to drink, though!

     Tonight I've decided to open up about something pretty personal.  I like to think I'm open on here but obviously, to an extent, we just can't share every little thing about our lives on here.  Nevertheless, here's a topic I haven't delved too deeply into over the past two, (almost three, OMG) years of blogging!  If you know me outside of your computer screen, you know that I am a dominant personality, usually bubbly, and almost always seem confident.  Oh you don't see that in me?  That's okay, sometimes it's an act.  If you can see through it, I'd say you know me pretty darn well.  Anyway, that's the perception most people have of me.  Even those that are a huge part of my life, still see me that way.  And that's totally okay, and it's mostly true.  That's just not quite the whole picture.

     When I was in high school I went through an experience that changed a lot about me.  There's no need to get into the details, other than the ways in which my life was changed because of it.  I became self-conscious, uncomfortable with myself, unloving of myself, lacking all desire to be who I always had been.  This was a defining moment in my life, putting me on a trajectory of self-loathing for the next four-ish years.  I remained the Meredith I always was on the outside, but on the inside my soul was suffering.  While I was smiling and laughing with friends, my heart was in pain and my zeal for life was deadened.  I looked in the mirror with hatred, I regretted everything I did and said, I fell into sin patterns that I will always struggle with, and ultimately lost all hope for joy.  Like I said, my life seemed just fine on the outside.  I was successful in school, my social life, my extracurriculars, and everything in between.  But there was something different about me.  My love for Jesus and desire to follow him was suppressed by an experience that I allowed to consume and define me.  This resulted in an incredible amount of self-pity, guilt, and self-inflicted hatred.

     Let me be clear, I was wronged.  But I am sinful.  And instead of running to the arms of Jesus, I sprinted the other way and attempted to rely on my own strength to be sustained.  The truth is I wasn't sustained, I wasn't enough for myself.  I was weak, broken, bitter, angry and fell deeper and deeper into sin.

Thankfully, Jesus pursued my heart relentlessly and drew me back to Himself.
     This is such a beautiful and life-giving truth...that my Savior chose me and pursued my heart, EVEN IN MY SIN.  I was far from Him, living in the way that my sinful heart desired, and He rescued me.  Romans 5:8 says, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  While I was sinning against my King, He died for me.  He died for all my brokenness and rebellion.  What a beautiful and redemptive picture.  

     I don't say all of this for you to feel bad for me, have pity on me, or for you to tell me how valuable I am.  My security is in Jesus alone!  The point I'm slowly getting to is that this is a huge part of my story.  Not because I want to stir up the past but because my sinfulness at that time continues to inform my emotions today.  I struggle all the time with being truly confident, feeling like I'm good enough for the people in my life, etc.  In my relationships I am constantly challenged not to put my worth in them and I struggle with the worry that the people I love won't think I'm good enough and they'll walk away at any moment.  And the whole deal here is that I'm not enough and I never will be.  But my Jesus is!  He is everything I need, fulfills every desire I have and ever will have, and His love is sustaining.  And even if someone or multiple someones decided to walk away one day, I would be okay.  Because of Jesus.  Please don't hear a pity party, but hear that Jesus loves you and wants a relationship with you.  Hear that even through that thing you did last night, that thing you said today and that thought you'll have tomorrow, Jesus wants you!  

     Yes, I still struggle.  Daily I have to turn back to Jesus, surrender my heart to Him and put my trust in Him.  But the redemptive process is beautiful and so full of joy!  And now when you see me laughing and joking around and smiling, it's because I have a Savior who assures me of my worth in Him and gives me unspeakable joy!  This just got super, super long.  I've broken one of my only blogging rules...so it's time for me to end this shindig!

I am redeemed.  I am new again!


If you are struggling or have struggled with anything I wrote about in this post, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.  If you have questions about this whole Jesus thing, please please send me a message!  I'd love to hear from you.


Five on Friday

Good morning!

     I'm sitting in Starbucks, taking in the smells of coffee and the stillness of the early morning.  It's Friday!  Which is fun because work should be calm today and that means it's almost the weekend!  But, now that I'm working full-time I'm really trying not to become one of those people who just lives for the weekend...drags themselves through the week only to get to Friday and feel freed from responsibility.  While that sounds fun and all, I'd rather choose joy daily, love Jesus in my actions all throughout the week, still enjoy my weekends, but truly LIVE every day.

(that was free)

I'm finally going to do a Five on Friday post again, and link up with these lovely ladies!

O N E.
This week I've been listening to one worship song in particular.  Jesus has been faithful and so so sweet to remind me of His promises through music.  Here's a quick vid of the song I'm talking about.

T W O.
Right now I'm learning what it looks like to be "joyfully patient" as I've dubbed it.  I'm learning to be truly patient and take joy in the obedience found in practicing patience.  I know Jesus has a plan for where I'll be in the next two months, ten months and ten years!  And I'm learning what it looks like to find peace in that truth.  It's been fun!  Being *JOYFULLY PATIENT* is actually so freeing!  I love that I find even more Joy in the Gospel when I am obedient to Him in patience.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Phillipians 4:6
On this topic, the Lord knows the desires of my hearts, the people I love and the things I need have patience in.  And I know He will fulfill those.  That gives me the greatest hope!  And even if He doesn't, the cross is STILL sufficient.

T H R E E.
Babies, babies, babies!  My drill team director from high school and second momma had her second little babe yesterday!  He is just the sweetest and tiniest thing.  One of my best friends from college is PREGNANT!  And I couldn't be more thrilled.  So happy the news is out to the world!  Greg and Malissa will make the most wonderful momma and daddy!  If I can't be an aunt yet, this is the next best thing!

F O U R.
Of course I spend plenty of time with my boo.  But I'm mentioning this because it was different.  I'm always glad to be with him, talk about whatever, go to the grocery store, whatever.  There isn't anything I wouldn't to be doing when he's by my side.  Last night, though, we got a chance to spend some truly quality time with each other.  We were able to focus on each other and talk about where we're at spiritually, emotionally, etc.  It was such a wonderful thing.  And I think we need that every once in a while, almost like a reboot button on our relationship.  So good!

F I V E.
I don't have much more to say.  Except that I just LOVE blogging!

Have a happy Friday and a beautiful weekend, friends!