Shine Bright

You will typically find me in dress patterns with much softer colors than what I chose to wear to the wedding this past weekend. I don't think I even realized just how neon it was until we were literally walking out the door to leave. But I love this dress all the same. It is super comfortable (which is really all that matters) and was absolutely perfect for an outdoor wedding. 

The couple that got married this past weekend holds a special spot in my heart. I have known the groom for most of my life. We were part of a neighborhood "play group" and were forced to become friends because our moms spent so much time together. To this day, the group still get together once a year to play laser tag and have dinner at...wait for it...Hooters. Yes, it's a weird combination of activities - especially just days before Christmas, when this event usually takes place. I've been pushing to move the entire event to Pinewood Social - hopefully others will soon agree. Nevertheless, it was a blast to get everyone together again for such a joyous event. 

The amazing thing about this wedding was the amount of love shown from the families for the bride and groom. The bride's story, in particular, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. She has a contagious personality that is so full of happiness and joy that you can't help but want to be around her. I am in awe of her smile, as well as the grace she exhibits on a daily basis. 

On this magical day, the sun was shining brightly, the Edison lights were twinkling, and my dress was practically glowing in the dark; but, nothing was shining as bright as the love these two have for one another. 

In life, we constantly crave love - it's how we are wired. God did not create us to live this life alone. He created us to live it with people, surrounded by His love. 

While God is the ultimate support system, He brings different people into your life to walk with you through all types of occasions - whether they are happy, sad, hilarious, embarrassing, tragic, or depressing. He can even send people to help you through those "what were you thinking when you wore that" times in your life.

Can you think of someone who has been an example of this kind of support in your life? Have you told this person how grateful you are for his or her friendship?

This week, I encourage you to recognize the support system God has placed in your life. I also encourage you to look for ways to show the people in your support system just how you can be that support system for them.  

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." - Matthew 18:20

Print from  Choose Brave

Print from Choose Brave

The power of words

I love wedding season. How can you not? You get to dress up, see friends, dance all night, have a glass (or two) of champagne, etc. This past weekend, Adam and I went to our first of four weddings for the month of APRIL.  Yes, you read that correctly. Four weddings in one month. I will love every second of it. Adam, on the other hand, will probably freeze the credit cards thinking that I am going to buy a new dress for each one (the answer to that question is, YES)! 

I found this little number at Nordstrom, and I couldn’t wait to wear it. It was super comfortable, and it fit perfectly. I’ve linked this dress here.

While I enjoy the picturesque settings and excellent musical entertainment typical of most weddings, my favorite part is always the exchange of vows. Cliché, I know, but I love it. The couple from the wedding we went to this past weekend wrote their own vows, and they were beautiful. I was thankful they wanted to share that part of their heart with family and friends. Even though I love to write, writing my own vows would have been a near impossible task.  It’s not because I don’t have enough to say about my love for Adam.  It just feels like words couldn’t do it justice. (Insert cheesy grin).  I imagine Tyler and Emily felt the same way.  So, props to them for making it happen. And causing me to tear up along the way!

Photo by  Katie Norrid

Photo by Katie Norrid

Vows are a set of words in which two people outwardly commit themselves to one another for as long as they both shall live. How powerful is that?

We are fortunate as Christians to have the gift of the Bible, which contains another powerful set of words that helps guide us through life. It teaches us lessons, offers us comfort, and gives us encouragement. It is so much more than printed letters on a page.

Words are our oxygen. They can give us life. They can make your heart skip a beat. They can make promises. They can open doors. They can greet new friends. They can lift you up. They can make you feel unstoppable. They can tell stories. But, words can also bring you down. They can cause moments of defeat. They can break promises. They can break hearts. They can make you feel like you are not good enough.

God left us with the words of the Bible, which, among other things, reminds us of our worth. He tells us over and over again that he loves us. And because he loves us, we are able to love others… and, like Tyler and Emily, even profess this love in the form of marriage vows. 

Photo by  Kay English

Photo by Kay English

Words are a powerful tool that we have been given. How will you use this tool today? 

- Taylor Ann 

Happy Dance

There are moments in life that should be followed with a “happy dance.” Get off work early (especially on a Friday)… happy dance. No line at Starbucks… happy dance. Finding out the new shoes you wanted are on sale… happy dance. Making it through a work day with your students following every set of directions… happy… yeah, that never happens.

When it comes to clothing, finding a good romper usually causes me to break out a happy dance. And when I say, “good,” I mean that I don’t have to spend the whole night either pulling at the bottom OR the top of my outfit; there are not a million straps to maneuver through when putting the thing on; everything stays in place with no tape required; but, most importantly, a good romper doesn’t cost the same amount as my future first born child’s college tuition.  Because let’s be honest, you are only going to wear that romper for one Instagram picture.  So, why pay an arm and a leg for it?

This romper is a good romper. It is comfortable, easy to put on, decent length, and….wait for it….under $50. I strolled into Fab’rik boutique last week and was so impressed with their selection – particularly, the quality and price! It also helps that it is a super cute, Snapchat worthy setting for shopping. If you are in the Cool Springs area, I recommend a visit. 

Since all of my readers are not in the greatest city in the world (Nashville, of course), I have linked some of my other favorite rompers at the end of this post to be worn in your "just ok" cities.

In addition to having the opportunity to wear my good romper this weekend, I witnessed an event that caused me to jump into my “happy dance” and even shed some happy tears.

As I was sitting on the beach with my family, I looked up to see this… 

Two young men carrying a cross down the beach. I was amazed at the sight. My mother, being the detective that she is, walked up to them to ask questions. If you know my mom, you are not the least bit surprised by this. But, I was glad she did, and I even followed along to see what these guys were all about.

We found out that the two men are members of the LEAD Institute  in Lakeland, Florida. One was 18 and fresh out of high school, while the other was 27. Both were planning to go into some type of ministry and were completing the program to hopefully obtain answers about where their respective paths might take them. The way they described the program sounded intense. This is not surprising. Our church leaders often have more on their plates than we can even begin to imagine – much less appreciate.

I thought I got a lot of emails being a teacher. Think of the emails you get being a preacher.

I digress. They told us they started their journey in Daytona Beach and were walking as far as they could until Sunday. (Side note: we were in Cocoa Beach, which is at least a 1.5-hour drive from Daytona). They didn’t have any speeches to give and were not going to say anything to anyone unless approached. Their plan was simple: just carry this big heavy cross down the beach as a reminder, encouragement, and invitation to the peace only Christ can offer. “Spreading the word without saying a word.”

 

I don’t know how many people stopped to talk to them, or how many lives they touched along the way. They probably won’t even realize the effect they had on people that day. But they did it just the same.

You can do it too. You can spread the love of Christ to the people around you. You don’t have to carry a cross or even wear one around your neck. You can spread the love by being an example of love to those around you – reminding, encouraging, and inviting them to feel the L.O.V.E God offers. Hopefully, this will result in a happy dance in a good romper. 

- Taylor Ann

Ready to Romper?

Nordstorm || Lulu's || ASOS || Old Navy || Riff Raff