Coffee & Jesus: Blinders

I saw a quote recently that read: "Why do racehorses wear blinders? So they focus on their own race. We should learn to do the same."

The horse person in me wanted to say that there could be a myriad of reasons for putting blinkers on a horse, but essentially, that is correct. It is to keep the horse focused on what is in front of them. That quote resonated with me. We need to learn to focus on our own selves and our own lives and cut out comparison.

Galatians 6:4-5 says, "Let each person examine his own work, and then he can take pride in himself alone, and not compare himself with someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load."

Let each person examine his own work. That is, focus only on what you are doing. Go about your work, or your choices, or your life living up to only your standards (or the standards that were set for you by work, etc.). Don't focus on what your coworker is doing at work or what your friend is doing with his or her life. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Then he can take pride in himself alone, and not compare himself with someone else. When you focus on your own goals and avoid getting caught up in competition, you can be proud of yourself because you know that you did it for you- not for anyone else. You worked hard to become president of a club because that's what fit your goals, not because it's what your best friend did and you need to be able to compare to her. You went a different route with your major because the career path you were heading down wasn't going to allow you to build the life you wanted and you didn't care what your classmates thought about it. Achieve what YOU want to achieve and what will propel YOU forward. Don't do something because everyone else is doing it. Don't seek the approval of your peers or competitors. As a servant of Christ, seek only the approval of the Lord.

For each person will have to carry his own load. When it comes down to it, you will have to answer for your own choices. When those friends drift away and you are on a path you don't want to be on, how do you explain that you are there because you followed the crowd? Because you had to keep up with the newest trends. Because you got distracted with what everyone else was doing and didn't finish your own race.

The shadows are distracting. The others around you will get you sidetracked. The spectators will scare you. Look forward. Stay your path. Put your blinders on. Your race is the one that matters. Your choices will define your life. Dig in and give your all to the goals you have set. Out of the gate it may look like someone else is so much further ahead, so much faster and stronger. But maybe they weren't conditioned the same. Maybe they were trained with short bursts of speed, whereas you were trained with long gallops to build stamina. Resist wanting to speed up and challenge them now. Let your race play out and do what you do best. Stick to the plan because it all works out in the end.

"Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2


25 Before 25

I am notorious for making these lists and not doing anything with them! I made the 23 before 23 list last year and then realized recently... "I'm turning 23 in 6 months and I haven't marked off one thing!" I think part of accomplishing those things is giving yourself enough time, but it's also about being intentional. Intentionality has been at the forefront of 2018, so I decided to tackle this list with a new frame of mind. Rather than making a list for the sake of making a list, I wanted to create something that means something. I wanted to give myself a little more time to achieve things that are going to matter when I'm older.

So, here's my new and improved 25 Before 25 list!

End date: September 25, 2020

1. Run a 5K
2. Visit 5 new states
3. Take a photography class
4. Make a college photo book
5. Make a t-shirt quilt
6. Read the whole Bible
7. Take my family out to dinner
8. Have $10,000 in savings
9. Take roadtrip to see all the lighthouses in NC
10. Take a trip with friends
11. Purge my closet
12. Start an Etsy shop
13. Start a Roth IRA
14. Take Harrison horseback riding
15. Start a garden
16. Go to the Keeneland spring meet
17. Buy a new camera
18. 30 Days of Real Food
19. Visit another National Park
20. Visit 10 state parks
21. Learn to drive a manual
22. Organize all of my photos
23. Go on a friend vacation
24. Visit 5 new cities
25. Go 1 month without personal purchases


March 2018 Goals

I haven't written about it here yet, mainly because I haven't written about much of anything here lately, but one of my goals for 2018 was to be more intentional and actually accomplish some of the things that I want to accomplish. I purchased the PowerSheets Goal Planner from Cultivate What Matters to help me achieve my goals. It has been a great tool so far in helping me prioritize what matters and get those things knocked out each month. I plan to write more about the PowerSheets system, but for now, I will share the goals I have set for March!

-Church 3x (pretty self explanatory!)

-Write in our notebook (Harrison and I have a notebook that we write notes to each other in. We try to swap it every time we see each other, but I have had it for almost 2 months now. Time to buckle down and actually get it back to him!)

-Phone-free date night (Harrison and I are forever going on dates (to us, a simple dinner out (or in!) is a date), but being intentional about listening to each other without distractions doesn't always happen. I want to make it a point to have dinner without our phones one night... maybe even leave them in the car!)

-Dinner at home 2x (getting home to spend quality time with my family is a priority this month)

-Take pictures! (I know this isn't a measurable goal, but I didn't want to set too many restrictions for myself. I just want to get back in the swing of using my camera and enjoying it.)

-Purge closet (cleaning my closet at home has been on my to-do list since I moved out... it is happening this month for sure!)

-Read 2 books (I have started The Defining Decade, now I need to finish it and pick up another!)

-Blog (checking off for this week!)

-3 workouts (after completing a free 10 day course, I signed up for The Balanced Life Sisterhood pilates membership... I want to do at least 3 of these workouts per week)

-Write the Word (when I purchased my PowerSheets, I also purchased a Write the Word Bible journal... I need to have an entry per week!)

-Meal prep (I eat so much healthier when I prep my lunches at the beginning of the week!)

-Mint (changed to Budget Updates) (I used to use Mint to budget, but I'm trying my own system now... I need to keep it updated each week!)

-4 walks with Sailor (it's good exercise for the both of us!)

-Close all 3 rings (this feature on my Apple Watch is a huge motivator for me to get moving!)

-Up at 6:20 (I can't say that getting out of bed early is one of my strong suits)

-Bed by 10:30 (neither can I say that going to bed early is either)

-No spending (definitely not feasible everyday, but it's a good reminder and being able to check that box off has prevented me from picking up everything in sight at Target a time or two...)

-3 cups of water (doesn't seem like a lot, but the cup I drink out of is 16 ounces, so it could be worse... it's a starting point for me because I am SO bad about drinking water)

That seems like a lot, but it is manageable when split up like it is. Some things take me all month, but some are only one-time! As you can see, I have already, on March 1st, gotten out of bed later than 6:20 and spent money. Little by little is the goal- not perfection! This has been a great lesson for me in extending myself grace.

Also, all of my goals are color-coded by the little dots beside them. Each little goal is tied to one larger goal that I set at the beginning of the year. I set 5, with a quarterly review coming up at the end of March. I already know some things that I want to adjust. This system has been life-changing so far, so I can't wait to get started on March's goals!


Snow What Fun

We had an incredible snow this time last week! It was short lived, coming Wednesday and being almost completely gone by Thursday night, but it was so beautiful. It started Wednesday morning around 10:30 and gradually picked up until it was snowing as hard as I can remember in recent years. It put down somewhere close to 6 inches in about 6 hours. The last time we saw such an amount of snow was my freshman year of college! NC State closed Wednesday and Thursday, so we found ourselves with a nice little break in the middle of what would have already been a 4 day week. 

I found it in me to be somewhat productive on Wednesday, but spent the rest of the day and Thursday going in and out to the dog park to let the pups enjoy it (the snow froze to Lupin's fur making him look like he was wearing boots!), drinking hot chocolate, eating comfort food, and watching movies. That made facing a full week this week so much harder!


Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year from me, Harrison, Sailor, and our newest addition- Willy!


Upper & Lower Falls

Over Christmas Break, Harrison, Cassie, Luke, Harrison's dad, and I went hiking at Upper & Lower Falls near Morganton. Everything was frozen. Including us.

It turned out to be an incredibly beautiful hike, though! The trail is a loop that goes to both Upper and Lower falls (hence the name) and you can start from either end. We went up to Upper Falls first, then down to Lower Falls, and back up to the parking lot. It wasn't challenging (aside from the slick patches) until everyone decided that they would rather climb straight up the mountainside rather than follow the meandering trail back up. My knees were killing me! Despite the annoyance I experienced at that detour (or shortcut, as the guys would call it) I enjoyed the exercise and scenery. We saw needle frost, which I unfortunately don't have any pictures of. It is when water under the ground freezes and pushes up out of the ground. Google it if you never seen it- it's very neat!


Harrison // Cap + Gown

There have been a lot more pictures on this little blog than words lately- which is saying a lot because there haven't even been that many pictures! One of my goals for 2018 is to write more, so hopefully we'll see some more activity coming into the new year.

I had the honor of photographing my all-time favorite subject the other day- Harrison! He usually hates when I take pictures of him, but this time he had to deal with it (via orders from his mom). I'm so proud of him and I know how hard he's worked for the past 2 years that I've known him. What he was doing the 2 years before we met... I couldn't tell ya. I can not wait to celebrate his graduation next week with him and his family.

Finally, none of this would be complete without the finest transformation Tuesday you ever did see...



Congratulations, Harrison!