Letter from a concerned mother to Judy Bonner

Kathryn Shewmake:

I find bliss not in the content of this passage, because it is horrible to hear of even more stories like this, and it saddens me that my school would act this way. What does bring me bliss, though, is that people are finally speaking out. It’s time we bring change to this campus.

Originally posted on franklinstoveblog:

Seal whole-red(transpart)

The Franklin Stove Blog blog was linked to at the end of this touching and disturbing letter from an Alabama student’s mother to the University of Alabama President. One person who sent it to Jim Rainey (the Publisher of the Tuscaloosa News)  said that he seemed interested in it. But the letter has yet to be seen in in The Tuscaloosa News.

Dear Dr. Bonner,

I am the parent of Katharine Patricia Smith, sophomore by year and junior by credit at the University of Alabama. Our oldest son went to UA in the late 1990’s/2002. We are not strangers to the UA campus life. I will attempt to be as brief as possible.

When Katie chose to attend the University of Alabama, she had been accepted at American University as well as the other Florida Universities. Her choice resulted in the surrender of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship and several…

View original 1,494 more words

“The tree I’ll grow to let you know”

“The tree I’ll grow to let you know, my love is older than my soul”

I know it’s been a while.

A while since I had the time to sit down and really pour out.

A while since I have pointed out the iridescent bliss that is so shining in my life.

For that, I am sorry.

The end of a semester marks a time where it is hard to sit down 
and pour out, and I would rather not do it than do it 
improperly.

But today I found the time, and my heart is ready for it.

So now, I will pour out.

There have been a lot of things recently that have brought iridescent bliss to my life, so many things I could write forever about them.

But that’s not exactly what’s on my mind today.
I want you to hear my heart loud and clear because through 
hearing my heart you will witness the bliss for yourself.

 

There have been three constant words this semester:

joy, grace, and overflow.

Let me reiterate, three is my number.

This semester in bible study we have been discussing the Fruit of the Spirit. 

It’s cool because last semester we were told to write on a card what we would like to study.

I wrote the fruit.

 

Little did I know that they would choose my topic, and little did I know the topic would speak loudly in my life.

With every fruit we have studied, I have seen my seasons of the fruits being grown, pruned, gone, and re grown. 

It’s a cool thing how I can pick up my bible and be lead to specific books at specific times without having a hand in any of it.

Jesus is a cool dude.

I always say I think God has the biggest sense of humor. He does things in such a funny way. I appreciate that so much, too.

Every time I have picked up my bible recently I have been lead to a book that applies to my life in this season. 

The best part? All of the things end up connecting back to one or more of the fruit of the spirit. 

 

“We press fruit onto the tree instead of letting it grow. We pretend that we have it, but do we really? It doesn’t have a strong hold or foundation if we do it that way. We can’t grow fruit of the spirit, but we can water it. It’s the Lord’s doing that the fruit is there, but we have the power to grow it.” 
Hearing this made me think, am I pressing fruit onto the tree 
like an elementary craft? 
Or am I taking it from the roots, faithfully watering it 
and exposing it to the (SON) it needs to grow? 

I do hope that it is the latter of the two.

That I am deeply rooted in a firm foundation. That I bear the fruit because it has grown from a seed. That I continuously grow it and take care of it as I grow in my walk.

 

Speaking of my walk:

 

There’s been something on my mind.

I quit the internship quite a while ago, now.

I quit for growth. 

Growth is most definitely what I have gained. 

But now I’m in this place.

This place of overflow as you have heard me talking about.

And I wonder, what should I do with my overflow?

It’s a hard place to be in, for me.

Because I have a hard time being patient (that’s a fruit, you see?)

But I know that I can’t just sit with this overflow and not doing anything about it.

But I also know I can’t go and do something out of my own desire of making a difference.

I want to go where I am called to go and do
 what I am called to do.

It’s hard waiting around knowing I have so much to give but not know how to give it.

I have this talent of using art in my spiritual walk, but mostly it is kept to myself in my journal.

How, I think, might I serve the Lord by using my art?

Or maybe even using my voice, because I have a voice that seriously loves to harmonize. 

There are gifts that I have been given, but now I want to freely give them.

The question though, is how? where? when? 

 

But here is what I have learned.

Here is where my heart is at this very moment.

Here is what writing it down just now opened my eyes to.

Why am I asking so many questions and expecting an answer?

Why should I not just know that my trust is in the Lord and know that He will provide the how the where and the when when the time is right?

Have I not learned anything of His timing this semester?

 

Thanks be to God for the iridescent bliss of trusting in Him completely despite all of the questions circling in my head.
 

I am going to leave you all with this.

A girl in my bible study gave us this comparison last night, and it touched my heart and spirit because I have this love for trees, this love for the seasons, this love for picture examples. Now I want to have this theory as a huge part of my life and future goals.

"We are like trees. They're so full after the rain that they 
drip in overflow. 
They're always growing, 
changing seasons, and being made new." 

Image

the bliss of the break

There has been bliss overflowing again lately, but last week in particular was extraordinarily full of iridescent bliss.
Those who know me know I want to be a wedding planner.
Those who know me really well know that I have the privilege of planning my sister's wedding.
This is bliss.

For the first part of spring break last week, I got to go to Pensacola and meet with the vendors.

Not only is this blissful because it is a huge step in the planning process and it was very successful,

it is blissful because the vendors were extremely helpful.

They saw how old I am and affirmed me in the fact that I am actually following through with the planning.

that is bliss.

 

and then I went to Panama City with Jesse and his family.

This trip was really great. It was full of bliss because I got to hang out with not only Jesse for a week, but his whole family, and one of his and his sister's really good friends (who is now one of my best friends).

There really is just so much overflow right now.

There’s that word again.

overflow.

 

There’s a lot more I could tell you. I could tell you what all we did and why it was so blissful, but the simple fact of the matter is, those are just all details to add length to the post.
and this blog isn’t supposed to be a list of what I did over the break.

It’s supposed to let you into my heart. 

And the best way to let you into my heart about the break is by letting you see it for yourself. 
ImageImage
Image
Image
Image
Image

Image

Where the weight does not exist

20140322-145122.jpg

There’s something about the sound a river makes against the rocks. The flow of it all. The voices of people cheering for the kayakers. The sound of the paddle hitting the water as they race down stream. The voices of those surrounding me. An occasional conversation sparked from those that I hold close in my heart.

This is bliss.

I have found, in these 20 and a half years of living, that I feel the closeness of God when surrounded by water.

I don’t know what it is about it..but it just fills up my heart.

Maybe it’s that I look around at all of this beauty and I wonder, how could He have even imagined all of this? All of the details, you know?

The moss on the rocks.
The rocks themselves.
The flow of the water.
Even the sound of it moving.
The different shapes and forms of trees.
The different shades of green.

I could go on for hours.

Maybe it’s the fact, though, that in this place there is so much peace.

It’s as if it is away from the rest of the world.

It is this place where the weight of society doesn’t seem to even exist.

It’s His power and glory and majesty that I see here.

It’s His love that I feel..flowing.

Through the hand of a man who lives for God touching my leg…just to remind me he is next to me. Through the occasional glances at him where I see a smile and light in his eyes.

Through the faces of the parents who have raised me. Who have impacted me and taught me. Who have been guided by Christ to unconditionally love me, cherish me, and raise me.

Through the presence of the man who will in 6 months become a part of our family. Where God’s grace and truth have so poured into my life through learning what it looks like to accept someone taking my sister to Chicago.

Through the voice of a dear friend of mine talking to her mother and sitting next to me..because this friendship is absolutely a gift from The Lord.

Through knowing I am here in support of my brother. A brother who means the world to me. Who became so busy with work I haven’t gotten to see him or speak to him nearly as much as I would like. But now we have time to hang out again. Through the knowledge that the relationship of siblings is a beautiful one.

And through the bliss of being able to sit in this place and just write. To let the presence of His spirit and the beauty of this place enlighten my heart enough for me to know it is

Simply,
Purely,
Iridescent bliss.
>

you are my hope (the bliss of the night)

Image

 

It’s been a while.

A while since I’ve gotten to sit and write.

To Pour Out.

But I knew it was coming. 

and now is the time.

 

Tonight was one of the most needed nights of the last few weeks of my life.

If you have been a part of my life lately, you have seen me in my biggest period of struggle.

So. much. stress. from. school.

I’ve been working on this project that took up all my time, not to mention working on all of my other classes, going to church, spending time with Jesse, and balancing out my social life.

But the stress has ended up bringing me so much bliss.

Now that I’m out of the cloud.

The project? 

- a wedding planning project. Naturally, I loved every minute of it..despite the complaining. 

The other classes?

- I'm doing well in school- there is bliss here.

Church?

- How could I possibly survive without it? I couldn't.
the communities, the fellowship, the worship, the scripture, the lessons, the art that I create while sitting in the services.

Jesse?

- He constantly makes me know that I am going to pull through. That I'm a fighter. That I'm stubborn. That I'm loved. That I'm cherished. That there is hope. That the world isn't ending. That a break is coming. That I am making correct decisions. 
He holds me accountable.

Balancing my social life?

-I couldn't make it without the people I have gotten to spend time with. And even those I haven't gotten to spend time with who I love, I couldn't make it without them either. 

Now, to what went down tonight.

Let me start by talking a little bit about TODAY.
today I turned in my project and Jesse watched me and my excitement for turning in something I worked incredibly hard on! In the process of turning it in I got to talk to three professors who invest time in my life. Who constantly show that they care about me, my future, and my success. Because they know I work hard and care about it.I found out that this summer I will get to take the class that is the MOST IMPORTANT class of my major-and my sister’s wedding is counting for it! I got to talk to my mom about a million times and to my sister for a solid 20 minutes or more. Let’s be real, they were really happy with a decision I made, so it made me really happy! I did what I felt to be right, and they affirmed that decision. That being said, I can’t wait to spend some quality time in Pensacola with them.

Ok, on to tonight.

So I had a girls' night with one of my best friends. Last semester we didn't get to really hang out, but this semester we have had a few really really great times. You know they're a best friend when you can keep up with each other's lives and pick up right where you left off even if you don't text much and rarely see each other. 

We cooked together. We both love cooking. 

It was just so chill and relaxing, and there is so much iridescent bliss in that.

Then we made coffee and sat down on the couch and watched a movie.

Y’all.

I am going to be a wedding planner and had never seen “The Wedding Date,”

so she introduced me to it.

WOW. It is precious, has wonderful quotes, and is such a great movie to just sit and enjoy.

Then we went to Target and got excited over things like new shampoo. 

So we feel like grown ups.

Let's just say, this night was extremely needed.

The rest I got, the friend I got to spend time with. 

 

Then I got back.

and I picked up my guitar.

I haven’t truly played since Memaw’s funeral.

which is going to be ironic for what you are about to read next.

I played, I remembered things, and I just soaked in the moment.

 

& then I opened my bible.

But before I did that, I said

“God give me the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Let me open to what I need to see.”

You will never believe what happened next.

God’s power and control are so transformational in my life.

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you TRUST in him, so that you may OVERFLOW with HOPE by the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT.”

On December 31, 2013, my Memaw went to be with the Lord.
The first verse I opened to that night was Romans 15:13.

But there is a catch.

I only read the first half of the verse.

The first half reads, 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him"

I tweeted it.

Throughout the next few months, I learned a lot about overflow.

It became one of my words.

The word that filled my life, my heart, and my spirit.

Joy has been a constant word in my life for quite some time.

What is the catch here?

The second half of the verse I flipped to tonight.

The same verse that I opened the night my grandmother died.

"so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Did you know that patience has been my lesson this semester?
And what comes with patience?

Peace does.

Did you know that my favorite bible verse is Hebrews 11:1?
Now you do.
It's what I strive to live by.

“Now faith is being sure of what we HOPE for, and certain of what we do not see.”

“May the God of HOPE….overflow with HOPE.”

Now, there aren’t words that I can physically write to you to explain the power I feel and see in this moment.

But maybe, just maybe, you will see it, too.

You will feel the chills that radiate throughout my body as I type. 

Because a single verse was used over months.

Without me even realizing it.

 

He amazes me.

 

and this all, my friends, is iridescent bliss, in the most radiating of ways.

 

I find it funny, that over the course of the last few months I have felt like I am in a limbo state.

This state where I am not being used to the full measure.

But I think I just had an epiphany.

Does God not use my bliss in every post I make?

 

Maybe I have found the purpose I have been looking for lately.

To pour out. To give my heart out to all of you. Because you know what I think is really cool?

 

I have no idea who actually reads my blog.

Even if you are my friend who sees me on a weekly basis, I don’t know that you read it.

I don't know if I am touching your life.
I don't know if I am making a true difference.
I don't know what you think of my words, my stories, my heart.

But does that not keep away pride?

That it does, that is does.

 

To you who read my heart- find bliss in the stress. 

Find bliss in the moments that change you.

Bliss in the moments that radiate and overflow.

Bliss in the joy.

Bliss in the peace.

In the patience.

Find bliss in hope.

 

Because you are my hope. 

Did you know that? 

 

Hope that maybe I am being used to the full measure. 

 

you. are. K N O W N. (blissfully)

Image

There are some times in life when I feel blessed beyond full measure.

This weekend was one of those.

Where my heart is in a constant state of overflow-

but that’s been happening a lot since the day I met Jesse.

but this blog isn’t just about Jesse. It’s about all these things that are extremely near and dear to my heart.

Discovery 2014. 

My 8th discovery over all.
My 2nd discovery as an adult leader.
My first discovery with Jesse.

These are all important things.

..and of course there are 3 of them.

Because three is an important number here and in my life.

Father. Spirit. Son.

affirmation.

You see, there is bliss in the fact that I have returned to a single church retreat consecutively 8 years in a row.There is bliss in this because it shows how much the weekend means to me. Why, you ask? 

First and foremost, because that is where I gave God total control of my life (see previous blog on my testimony)

But not only that.

Discovery is this weekend to me where I come home to this giant family. 

A family that is in constant growth. So I meet new members of the family every time I return home.

But then I see old faces of those who did life with me, and even older faces of those before me, and I see community in full force.

This is bliss.

Iridescent bliss.

In the fact that three days (there’s that number again) can always impact my life more than any series of events strung together.

That any calling, any affirmation, or any growth that I have had most largely in my life has come from a Discovery weekend.

It's blissful because I go there to lead, yet I am lead.
I go there to help students grow, yet I am grown. 
I go there to impact, yet I am impacted.
I go there to show others that they are known, yet I am shown that I am known.
I go there to live as an example, yet I learn from them as examples.
I go there to support others, yet they support me.
I go there to mentor specific girls, yet they end up being role models to me.
I go there to love, yet I am loved.
I go there to pour out, but I am poured into. 

My second discovery as an adult leader..oh gosh, where do I even begin?

This year was different because I actually embraced the fact that I am considered an adult in these situations.

Last year I struggled with the idea that I was in charge of the entire group- I just wanted to be the friend.

But this year I learned how to be a friend, leader, and in charge all at the same time.

This one girl who is like a sister to me really affirmed me in that this weekend.

There was bliss in that affirmation. In her kind words that expressed a change in the way I live and lead.

It’s always a beautiful thing to be told that you are a role model, and I heard that this weekend.

Those words are the most humbling words.

Because it’s not something that comes naturally.

It’s something I constantly strive for.

and let it be known, I do not, and will not always succeed at that.

and then there’s the fact that Jesse was there.

It made this year something special. He knew beforehand what Discovery really means to me, so the fact that he got to be involved in such a huge way there touches my hearts and sends me into overflow. 
He helped lead worship this year.

If you know me at all, you know that worship means something special to me.

If you don’t know me, now you know something new.

Worship absolutely has my heart.

Ever since around 7th grade, if you asked me how I feel God the most, I would answer:

W O R S H I P. 

There’s something iridescently blissful about watching the man who means everything to you lead you in something that means more than everything to you.

It's perfection to me, the way he plays, sings, and leads.

The way God moves in the room the second he hits the stage.

Jesse, be affirmed from this.

I know you’re reading this, so know that I am more than proud of you. Of the man you are and the way you follow the Lord and his calling. Of the way you live and walk in your faith. In the way you encourage and motivate me to always be the best version of myself.Be affirmed, because affirmation is bliss, and you are 

I R I D E S C E N T   B L I S S 

to not only me, but to the world. 

so there we have it.

The  T H R E E  important things of this year’s discovery.

three. 

Father. Spirit. Son. 

Know that you are KNOWN. 

Known and loved beyond belief.

Find bliss in this. In the joy of being known. 

The bliss of opened eyes

There is bliss in eyes being opened

Thursday night was one of those nights that absolutely radiated bliss.

It was the “Open Your Eyes” event that I spoke about in my previous blog.

When I woke up on Thursday I seriously felt absolutely horrible. My cat allergies had turned into an awful sinus infection, making it really hard to get out of bed, much less be excited for an event that was going to mean so much to me.

But thankfully the doctor got me in and got me some shots in my system. Now if you know me at all, you know I can’t stand needles. But on Thursday, these shots actually brought me bliss!

Eventually the time rolled around for the event to begin, and let me tell you, I was anxious. I was excited and nervous, I was joyful and passionate, I was ready.

When people started to walk in the room is probably when it all hit me..that it was real. I’m not sure what feeling was cooler: watching my parents walk in the door to support me, having my boyfriend by my side helping me with any detail needed, seeing random people flood into our event, or looking at all of the faces of people I am friends with there.

So many people came to support me, and that is iridescent bliss.

Thursday night I watched all of our hard work, dedication, and passion come to life. I watched an event that 6 of us developed from the thin air one day become reality.

There is bliss in the fact that it brought me joy. Because that means I will never work a day in my life. I will love what I do so much that it won’t feel like work. That is bliss.

There is bliss in the fact that I will be working with UA Body Appreciation week the rest of college, and that people actually want me to continue to help.

There is bliss in the fact that eyes were opened…even if they were my own. My eyes were opened to beautiful things, like the spark that was re-ignited in my passion for promoting positive body image. Or to the understanding of God’s hand in all of this.

But I seriously believe that lives were changed that night, and there is bliss in this. I can’t state as a fact that lives WERE changed, but I could feel it in the room, you know?

I sat there and watched girls intently listen to woman speaking about such a heavy weight topic. I felt the lightness in the air though, that positive vibe we really wanted to pull off. But even in those moments of complete vulnerability by the panel and through one amazing video, I watched faces change..as if hearts and eyes were being opened wide.

This blog won’t even do the event justice. There is no way to bring to life in words what was brought to life on Thursday night.

But all of the glory goes to God.

It couldn’t have been a chance circumstance that the other classes I wanted for this semester were full so I just happened to randomly choose this class.

It couldn’t have been just luck that I was picked to have the event for UA’s Body Appreciation Week.

It couldn’t have been random selection that put the six of us girls together.

It definitely couldn’t have been anything but God who got us every single panel member, because they were all individually and collectively perfect.

It couldn’t have been anything other than the Holy Spirit that brought specific people to the event and gotten one girl to share her personal story on Facebook and at the event.

To be honest, I could go on forever about how perfect the event was in my eyes, but the truth is..

All that needs to be said is that

It was bliss, and eyes were opened.

You.are.beautiful and loved.

20140302-213051.jpg

20140302-213446.jpg

Open your eyes (to bliss) : it’s not just a project, it’s my purpose.

openthem

I’ve been blowing up social media lately.

Posts about the event "Open Your Eyes." 
And it got me thinking..why am I so invested in this event?

Is it only because I was required to plan it? Because I love planning events?

Or because it hits a spot with me? A spot that has been on my mind lately.

A spot that I share with those closest to me, or those most interested in my life.

Well there is a lot of bliss in this, because I am about to share this spot on my blog. 

That goes to show that this blog in itself is bliss. That you who continuously read it are bliss to me.

The truth is, I’m promoting this event for many reasons. Because a group of us have invested so much of our lives lately into creating this event, into marketing this event. Because I am graded on the event, and naturally I want a perfect grade. Because I love event planning. It is my future career and my bliss. Because it does hit that spot.

My greatest pain is really my greatest passion.

so here we go, let it pour.

"Open Your Eyes" is an event that we created for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It is held during The University of Alabama's Body Appreciation Week. It is an event to promote positive body image. Our goal is for girls to "shut out society and open [their] eyes to true beauty." I came up with a little slogan,

” TR[U]E [BE]A[U]TY.” 

       you.be.you.

So now, we get to “the spot.”

I want to start out by saying I never have had an eating disorder. Thanks be to God for that.

But I did have zero self esteem. Zero self worth. 

So I know what those who do suffer from the disorder feel like.

Some of you reading this already know my testimony, but for those of you who don’t, here’s a brief.

Here is “the spot.”

(My testimony is not about finding God, it is about giving God total control. Because I have been a Christian since birth, but "the spot" in my life is when I gave him total control.)

When I was in middle school I was in that awkward braces stage of life. That stage where you were trying to find yourself and  your friend group all at once. That time when what you did mattered and who you were friends with outweighed everything (or so I thought). In 6th grade I was pretty good with myself. I had all the friends I needed and was having fun with school. But then 7th grade came and things started to change. I started to look at myself and hate what I saw. But not my body. I loved my body..because I was always an athlete. I had abs and everything. So there was no negative body image. But I looked in that mirror at my face and small chest and thought, “wow, I’m hideous.” Was I? I wasn’t the cutest. I had braces and was awkward looking, but I was not ugly. No one is. But it continued to get worse. I started to have zero self esteem, zero self worth. I would like a guy and he would never like me back. And of course, my worth came from boys. Sometimes I would like a guy, and he would talk about how all he wanted was to be able to date my sister because she was gorgeous. 8th grade. That’s when the comparisons began. She is 5 years older and stunning. She is smart and was always perfect in my eyes, and all of the boys in my grade’s eyes too. She was worthy. I wasn’t. They would make fun of me and pick on me. Whether it was intentional or not, I don’t care. It still hurt. And so my zero self esteem probably  went straight to the negatives. One day a guy told me, “If you do [this] then I will call you beautiful every day and get any boy you like to like you back.” Naturally, I did [that]. I won’t disclose to you what it was, because that is too much for the whole internet to read.

(But if you would like to know, ask me in person. I am willing to share).

One day my little naive, 8th grade self realized that I wasn't making the right decisions. That I wasn't treating people the way I should, I wasn't loving them enough. I wasn't mean, but I wouldn't stand up for people that deserved it. If I wasn't the greatest person to you in this time of my life, and you are reading this, I am truly sorry. I was that 8th grade girl who was a cheerleader and thought I ran the place.But all of that "confidence" was stemming from the loads of insecurities I was facing.The day I realized I wasn't living right, I started to hate myself. I can't begin to explain to you the feelings I had towards myself.The self esteem was shot again, the self worth was gone, and the hatred was high.I lived in this little world where I couldn't stand to look at myself and I absolutely couldn't stand myself in general.This went on for a really long time.I couldn't forgive myself. Ever.

But then Discovery happened.

Discovery is this weekend at my church in Homewood that changes lives. It’s this time when you dedicate a whole weekend to diving deeper into your relationship with Christ and growing your relationship with others. It’s this time where you look at your life and the circumstances in your life and you understand what Christ’s love, compassion, grace, and forgiveness look like. This time when those who don’t know Christ come to know Him, and those who do know Him already come to know Him in a greater way.

It didn’t just change my life, it saved my life.

You see, we had this forgiveness service, and at this service, I learned how to forgive myself.

I never questioned my forgiveness from God, because I asked for it so many times.

But I hadn’t forgiven myself, and that’s a huge part of your walk.

So they gave us these tiles.
They told us to write our sins on them, so I did.
Then they took us to a bin of water.
I watched the sins wash away, and in that moment,
I felt them wash away.
Then they gave us a hammer
and I shattered that tile.

Forgiveness was found.

In that moment I didn’t gain self esteem, but I gained self worth from forgiveness and from the Father.

From there, my greatest pain became my greatest passion.

I got really involved in the “operation beautiful movement,”

posting “you are beautiful” in random places and all over social media.

Because I want people to get the compliments and affirmation that I so badly needed.

I want to show them self-worth.

Who would ever have guessed that my sophomore year of college I would get this project.
A project to create an event for UA’s Body Appreciation Week.
One where I can promote the idea of true beauty.
One where I can live out my passion.
Because to me,

it’s not just a school project. It’s living out my purpose.

and THAT, is iridescent bliss to me.

you. are. beautiful.

 

[ b l i s s ] that shines like the [ February sun ]

My heart is filled. It is full, full of bliss for the unknown now being known.

Today I went to a new church. For the people who have been reading all of my posts, you know how long of a process this has been. But let me tell you, today, my walk with God was satisfied to the full measure.
I connected with the service, and this is bliss in its finest! 
Beth went with me, and we were welcomed and accepted with arms open wide! There is so much bliss, so much happiness filling my heart!

It took so much of me to leave the other church on Sundays, and then I was in this limbo state.

But now I know where I belong.
& my community is now growing.
There is so much bliss in this.

 

There is bliss in the lunch we had afterwards with 3 guys who opened up their arms to us.

That was true acceptance, and for that I am very thankful.

I can’t wait to see where our friendships go from here!

 

There is bliss in the accountability group time I had today.
Because I love those girls, and they are truly becoming some of my best friends.
There is something so special about God putting you in a group with specific people.
May He continue to flourish and grow our group so that we have friendships to last a life time.

 

There is bliss in the email response I just got from an internship I applied for yesterday.
In the fact that my future is being shaped and paved.
In the excitement of opportunities and the love and passion I have for weddings.
There is bliss in opportunities, especially this one in specific!
 

There is bliss in the fact that in just an hour I will be sitting next to the river crafting. 

Because my heart is satisfied by sunshine, water, crafts, and the girls who will be sitting next to me.

 

and finally, one of the most blissful things that will happen to my life since Wednesday night.

Jesse gets home.

He’s been gone since Thursday, so I haven’t seen him in what feels like forever.

Let me tell you, I have missed him so much, but growth comes from being apart.

It has shown me a lot about how much I love and cherish the moments we spend together.

How important he is to my life and my growth in my relationship with Christ.

He spent the weekend glorifying God and His Kingdom, and I am so very proud of him for that! 

Praise be to God for a man in my life who worships Jesus with his whole being.

There is so much bliss in the fact that tonight we will be re-united. 

I can’t tell you how happy I will be to give him the biggest hug and see his face.

 

There is so much bliss in life. In my heart. My full, satisfied heart.

 

Praise be to God for iridescent bliss that shines as bright as this February sun.

These moments that radiate

20140216-170017.jpg

There is bliss in the moments that God generously provides.

The moments that radiate!

“I see your face in every sunrise.”
There is bliss that radiates from waking up at 5 am and driving with the most wonderful boyfriend to Birmingham to watch him lead worship and to worship with him. There is bliss in the intentional conversations a 45 min car ride can bless you with and the beauty of the sun rising into the morning sky.

“Oh, darling don’t you ever grow up”
There is bliss in growing older. In knowing that in one year someone could overcome so much. My grandfather overcame a stroke, multiple falls, a fractured spine, the sickness and loss of my grandmother, and plenty more. But there is bliss in the fact that today he turned 89 and now has another year ahead of him. He was made new, given a fresh start. May The Lord give him a blissful year.

There is bliss in spending time with family. All of them in one place. There is bliss that overflows from the laughter, the jokes, the goofiness, the food, and the people I was surrounded by.

“Christ is enough for me”
There is bliss in sitting in the Haven listening to the band warm up for the youth service. Because this church is the one you have grown up in, and the Haven is your second home. It feels good to be here again. There is bliss in understanding the feeling of a church being so right when recently one felt so disconnected. There is bliss in the fact that during their warm up time I got to spend quiet time with God in my own way..drawing.

You see, there is bliss.

Bliss in all moments that are generously given to me.

Bliss that radiates
.

20140216-170210.jpg