Coffee & Jesus: Comparison

"Comparison is the thief of joy." Wise words from a president who was born 148 years before Twitter was founded and 152 before Instagram. It makes me wonder what kind of struggles they faced back then that were inflicted by culture.

How many times have you sat around, scrolling through a newsfeed, thinking, "I wish I had that," or "I wish I looked like her?" I'd be willing to bet that's happened more times than you can count on all your fingers and toes. Social media is a great tool for sharing styles and ideas, but it opens up the door to nagging comparison of what you don't have that everyone else (so it seems) does.

I'm so guilty of holding myself to the standard that is portrayed on social media. Ask Harrison and my mom how many times they get screenshots and texts that say "ugh, I wish I had this;" this being whatever item the latest fashion blogger is wearing or using. Ask Harrison how many times I ask him if I'm skinnier than an airbrushed girl in a picture (he always says yes, bless him). It's kind of scary how much I want what others have and how many times I fail to appreciate what I do have.

Think about how that makes you feel, all the jealousy and envy and materialism. Does it make you feel full of life and happiness and joy? I'm going to guess that it doesn't. Stop holding yourself to a standard that you're making up in your head. Stop telling yourself that you need the latest look or trend. You don't. You have all you need in who you are. Find joy in what you have. Count your blessings.

Psalm 139:14 says,

I have been remarkably and wondrously made.

God made you in His perfect image. Don't mistake his beautiful creation for something that needs to lose 5 pounds to perfect or that needs to dressed in the most expensive brand to be desirable.

Use comparison to better yourself and to grow, not to wallow in the things you don't have.


Five on Friday: Vol. 3

Happy Fri-yay! Yesterday was technically my Friday because of the flex hours I'm working, but that doesn't make today any less exciting. I'm finishing up packing and getting ready to move into my apartment- which I pick up the keys for this evening! Other than that, I'm enjoying time with Harrison. We're planning on going to see Dunkirk tonight after stopping by the apartment, so we'll see how that is! Enough chit-chat- here are five things I'm loving this week!

ONE // What the Health Rebuttal

This article from Animal Ag Engage does a good job of debunking claims about food products using scientific research. What the Health is a 2017 documentary that critiques the consumption of meat and dairy products and promotes a plant-based diet. A lot of the claims made by the film are lacking in supporting data. As agriculturalists, we need to be able to support ourselves against claims such as these and stand against propaganda that puts fear and worries of the quality of the food we are producing into consumers minds.

TWO // Morehead City

Harrison and I are going on a day-date to the Crystal Coast this weekend and Morehead City will definitely be one of our stops. The town (misleading name!) is built on fishing and is full of coastal charm. Our State Magazine captures the city well in their latest "City Portrait."

THREE // Best of NC Map

I created a Google map of places I've covered in my posts about North Carolina! It will be continuously updated as I blog about my favorite places and spots in NC. You can find the map here and you can read about my NC travels here!

FOUR // What is Your Skin Undertone?

Photo courtesy of Politics of Pretty
I've been interested in learning a little bit more about makeup lately (my routine is very low maintenance and will most likely stay that way), and one of the things I was never sure of was what my skin tone/undertones is/are. I've determined that I have cool undertones, although I think they lean towards the neutral side based on what I've read. I actually determined it by the color of the makeup that I was matched to by Estee Lauder, but this article, by Politics of Pretty, helped a lot, too!

FIVE // Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote

I started seeing these totes all over Instagram and blogs recently and I love them! They have been around for a while, and it shows in their classic style. My Kate Spade tote has been great for the past two years or so, but I've been in the market for something new. The St. Anne tote just might be my next big purchase! There are tons of patterns, prints, and colors to choose from, which makes for a difficult decision on my part. The shape and size are exactly what I've been looking for, too.

What are you're weekend plans?


23 BEFORE 23

Ahh, goal setting. Something that I'm am actually terrible at. For the Type-A perfectionist I am, I can really lack vision and direction sometimes. I'll attribute that to my procrastinator side.

Last July, I made a 101 in 1001 list. It was a fun list to make and a great idea in theory, but after a year, I'm realizing that it just didn't pan out the way I wanted it to. Harrison is very excited about helping me cross stuff off the list, and I am, too, but I think there are a few reasons it hasn't motivated me the way I wanted it to.

First of all, the 1001 days makes for an uncertain deadline. It's very clear, but when I think about 1001 days, I'm not entirely sure when that it. I had to keep looking at when it was supposed to be finished. I like having clear cut deadlines, and if it's not simple math, it's not sticking with me.

101 is a great number and paired with 1001, it makes for a cutesy title. Honestly, though, it's just plain overwhelming. 101 things is a lot of things, even for almost 3 years. I couldn't remember 25% of the goals I had on the list. It also opened the door for a lot of "filler" goals. Ones that really don't impact me that much, but that I put on there to get to 101. I'm all about simplifying this year, and that includes the goals I have set.

Therefore, I'm transitioning to a new list: 23 Before 23! I originally started with 25 Before 25, but that's still a ways off and I wanted a date that is a little closer in sight. I'll have a little over a year to accomplish 23 goals- I work better under a little pressure, anyway!

Before I set out my upcoming goals, I want to review what I did accomplish from my 101 in 1001 goals. I actually did accomplish a few things- exciting things at that!

#2 // Move into a big girl apartment.
I will be moving into an apartment with my friend Connor this weekend! It hasn't happened yet, but the lease is signed!

#4 // Get a puppy.
Sweet Sailor has been in my life for right at a year now and it has been a fun ride!

#9 // Apply for grad school.
This will be happening before the year is up! I'm going to be attending NC State for a Masters of Agriculture Education!

#11 // Purchase a new lens for my camera.
I bought a 55-250mm lens for my Canon T3i the other day and it has been so much fun so far!

#22 // Vote in a presidential election.
And a controversial one at that...

#27 // Get my hunting license.
I got a few hunting trips in last fall for deer (unsuccessful) and dove (very successful)!

#28 // Get my concealed carry permit.
I took the class in June and have applied for it, so I'm just waiting on the sheriff's office to get it approved!

#31 // Begin a retirement plan.
Perks of an adult job, I guess?

#36 // Graduate from college.
NC State University Class of 2017!

#40 // Start collecting something.
Buying coffee mugs from my favorite places I visit has been a lot of fun!

#52 // Learn how to play chess.
Good thing I didn't say "learn how to play chess well."

#55 // Get back on a horse.
I got to ride a Tennessee Walker in the 2017 NC State 4-H & FFA Horse Judging contest!

#62 // Have 4 digits in my savings account balance.
Thank you to graduation and a real-world job.

#74 // Go to Britt's Donuts.
Not included in this was go to Britt's Donuts and terrify my tiny puppy because of the fireworks going off right above our heads.

#92 // Make a video of a trip I take.
Charleston was a ton of fun! Check out the video here (it's really horrible quality)!

See, it wasn't a total failure! I'm happy with what I did accomplish from that list, but I need to make a change without it seeming like I'm giving up. Goals are all about adjustment anyway, right?

This post is long enough already, so click here to read my 23 Before 23 goals! Some are modifications of my 101 in 1001 list, or they are taken straight from it. Some are new, too! Most of them, you'll notice, are a lot less focused on buying and acquiring. Instead, I chose to focus on ways to simplify and improve my life and relationships with the people I love.

What goals do you have set for yourself? Would you make a 23 Before 23 list (or 24, or 25, or 26)?


10 Things I Love About Small Farming Towns

ONE // The sunrise over a tobacco field

TWO // Hole-in-the-wall diners where old farmers gather around coffee to one-up each other on how early they woke up

THREE // Tractor traffic jams

FOUR // Waving at your neighbors driving down the road

FIVE // Pastry dinner fundraisers at the Baptist church up the road

SIX // "Ya want more tea, 'baby?'" or "hon'" or "love" or "sweetheart"

SEVEN // Pastures dotted with cows, wheat, and the occasional rusted, broken down tractor

EIGHT // Not worrying about locking your car doors- or your house doors, for that matter

NINE // The smell of dew in the morning, fresh cut hay, and, yes, even the livestock

TEN // Knowing that no matter what shiny things the big cities hold, you have all you could ever need down a gravel road, in the bed of a pickup truck, in grandma's kitchen, or on your front porch


Coffee & Jesus: A Monday Morning Motivation Series

I published a Sunday Scripture post last week, but quickly realized that I wanted to find a different series that 1) wasn't going live on the weekends and 2) gave me an opportunity to really share my heart. Not that Sunday Scriptures wouldn't, but I felt a Monday morning motivation series would allow me to combine what has been going on with me and find scripture to build it up higher!

One of my favorite sayings is "I need a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus" and what day of the week does that apply to better than Monday mornings? Starting your week off on the right foot is so important, and I hope these posts help you to do that. So grab a cup of coffee and a Bible and reflect with me this morning!

My mom sent me an article the other day by Christi Straub titled "What My iPhone Stole from Me." What a powerful title, first of all. In the article (which I highly recommend you reading), Christi talks about how, in the name of connection, she has sacrificed quality time with her family. If this doesn't strike a chord with each and everyone of you, either you still have a flip phone (which, honestly, some days I wish I did) or you are in denial.

How many times do we find ourselves multitasking- or so we think. You're talking to a friend, scrolling through Instagram, replying to a group text from your other friends, and keep asking, "huh? Sorry, I didn't hear you." You can't really multitask, I promise. You are neglecting your friend who is live and in person for the attractions of the digital world. You are missing out on real human connection for the soul-sapping comparison that comes with social media. Put down your phone and listen. Talk. Listen some more. Have a real conversation. Odds are that the conversation you're only halfway present in is revolving around something your friend saw on Twitter or Facebook. But what if that friend really needs someone to hear her out today? What if he or she has something weighing on his or her heart and needs someone to really listen? Don't miss out on those opportunities because you're looking at Kylie Jenner's latest selfie.

I'm guilty of it, too. In no way can I seem high and mighty about this. It has become a joke in my family that when we are all together, we sit around in the living room on our phones, not talking to each other. Heck, sometimes we'll even text each other or send something funny we saw on Instagram- all while sitting right next to each other. This has become something to laugh about, not something that we've thought, "hmm... we should really change this."

I'll find myself holed up at a family event, scrolling through newsfeed after newsfeed, instead of talking to my aunts and uncles and cousins that I only get to see once in a while. I'll find myself on a date with Harrison, the man I love with all my heart, more intrigued with my phone than the dinner he so graciously took me to. Quite frankly, this is so simultaneously disappointing and terrifying.

Romans 12:2 says "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." 

Take time each and every day to renew your mind. Even the simplest things can help you to spend less time on your phone and more time in the goodness of the world around you. Personally, I decided to turn off notifications to all of my apps, except for my text messages, missed calls, and news alerts. Facebook, Instagram, and all the like have absolutely zero notifications. No red bubbles when I have a new Snapchat, no banners to pop up on my lock screen, nothing. And it has been so refreshing. I find myself picking up my phone less because I have fewer things to prompt me to.

So, make a promise to yourself that you'll be present in your real life interactions this week. Make a conscious effort to put down the phone and see the world around you through your own eyes, not someone else's. Make it a habit, one that you spread to those around you. The fact that we live in a high tech world doesn't mean that we have to revolve our lives around it.

Do you find yourself enraptured in social media and ignoring the real world? How do you remedy this?


Five on Friday: Vol. 2

Happy Friday, friends! My weeks always seem to go by fast and slow at the same time. On one hand, I'm exhausted from this week, but on the other hand, it seems like I was just leaving the other day to go to Emerald Isle- not a whole seven days ago!

Nonetheless, I'm getting geared up for a weekend of organizing and cleaning before a 4 day week! Here are 5 things that I'm loving this week.

ONE // How I'm planning on running out of the office at 6 PM today!

Frosted knows how to celebrate the weekend! How cute is this video- one of my favorite racehorses of current times, too!

TWO // Tomato Sandwiches

Mater sandwich t-shirt
Really I'm just dreaming of lunch right now, because that's what I brought today, but how can anyone turn down a tomato sandwich in the summertime? We live off them at the beach. Simple to make and the perfect light lunch, the cultivars and brands of ingredients to use can be debated. Typically you see Wonder bread, Duke's mayonnaise, and a German Johnson tomato. My opinion? I'll take what I can get. Any brand of fluffy, soft white bread, a perfectly ripe, bright read tomato, and plenty of mayonnaise. Plus salt and pepper. 

Our State Magazine's take on the Southern summer staple!

THREE // Saltwater Gospel x Eli Young Band

I'm love-love-loving this song right now. Playing it as you drive on the bridge over the Bogue Sound, connecting Cape Carteret with Emerald Isle? Pure bliss. Deeper than that, it encapsulates how I feel at the beach. Few places make me feel closer to God than when I stand in front of the ocean.

FOUR // Flip Flops Donut Shop

This adorable donut shop is just before the Bogue Inlet Pier on Emerald Isle. They're open from 6 AM until whenever their supply runs out! We have made a tradition of going a few mornings when we are at Emerald Isle each summer. We hop on our bikes around 7:30 and cruise the 4.5 miles down the island to the shop! I love supporting local businesses, especially when they're as sweet as this one!

FIVE // 10 Ways to Plan a Successful Day

I pinned this on Pinterest earlier this week and now I have it printed out and taped to my mirror! There is not a single tip on this list that I disagree with, but there are a few that I'm committing myself to work on- namely getting enough sleep. 

And with that, have an awesome weekend and I'll be back on Monday!


Be Authentic

I used to be completely enchanted with the blogging world. I religiously read around 15 blogs and really tried to embrace the lifestyle. There was a point where I was blogging and attracting a bit of attention, and it probably had potential to go somewhere. I couldn't find it in myself to stick with it, though. And I always wondered why. After all, I love to write down my thoughts and it was really neat to see people coming back to read each week.

The more I think about it, and the more I think about and learn about the blogging world (well, the blogging industry, now, really), the more I understand why I couldn't find it in me to actually grow my blog way back when. I can't even remember the name of it- and that should tell you something.

I was essentially trying to fit myself into an equation. Write like that + post this kind of pictures x have this style - saying anything too deep = successful blog. I lost my passion for it because I was squeezing into what I "should" be, what I needed to be to get page views.

I read relatively few blogs today. Mostly because, and this will sound harsh, they are so insincere. Oh did you see that Blogger A went to Nantucket? No? Well Blogger B did, as well, so you're not missing much. And so did Blogger C and D and E and ...

I try really hard to read blogs where the writer has passions aside from the latest surprise sale and getting paid to sit on the beach and wear a certain swimsuit. Don't get me wrong, of the few blogs that I love, most of the girls still have sponsored content- and that's okay! Not every post is an #ad and they actually give you insight into their everyday life.

I can tell which of the blogs I have bookmarked are the ones with substance because they're the one I never find myself skipping over, always reading for new content. I hope to write so that whatever readers I have, if any, feel like they're getting something from this little space on the internet. I want to reach people on a level that is higher than "ohhh loooook at this shirt!!! it is $97.58 and perfect and click this link so I get commission on it!!!!!"

I hope I don't sound mean or rude or disapproving of the way that some bloggers make a living. I respect it and I respect the people that enjoy those blogs. I have a feeling, though, that there are a lot of people like me who just want a little more from the blogging world.



One of my favorite places and ways to worship (outside of church) is in the car. Playing Christian music and singing really loudly is one of the best way to put me in a better mood or to help me find the good when I think the world is against me. I love Psalm 104:33. It paints a picture of joy!

This graphic was my first time using Adobe Illustrator, so hopefully you'll see my skills improve! I also included a playlist of my favorite Christian songs for y'all to sing along with!


Five on Friday: Vol. 1

Happy Friday! I'm working four 10-hour days at my job right now, so that I can have some days off, so technically yesterday was my Friday and today is Saturday part 1! I'm running some errands this morning before heading to Morehead City to spend the day and part of tomorrow with my friend Emma! I'll meet up with my family in Emerald Isle for the weekend before coming back on Monday and starting my week on Tuesday.

I collected a five things that I found this week that I loved and had to share!

ONE // Amazon Magazine Subscriptions for <$1 an Issue!

I just ordered a 6 month subscription to Country Living magazine for $5! I couldn't pass up the offer and found a bunch of other magazine subscription for less than $1 per issue on Amazon, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmo, Better Homes & Gardens ($5 for 12 issues!), Coastal Living, and more! My favorite, Southern Living, comes in at $1.08 per issue! Make sure you turn off auto-renew if you order but don't want to be charged again.

TWO // This picture of Sailor

Just look at this and tell me it's not the cutest thing you've ever seen. I love her. This was taken after she couldn't walk on one of her back feet and then jumped out of the car at the vet's office and could walk just fine. I still love her.

THREE // Ocearch Global Shark Tracker app

I downloaded this for fun the other day and now I'm hooked (pun intended?) on checking it to see where the sharks are going- and if any are off our coast! The shark's tags ping when they surface to update their location. I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the famous Great White, Mary Lee- her tag is registered with the app, so you can see where she's at!

FOUR // Adobe Illustrator

My computer at work has the full Adobe suite on it, which is AWESOME, so I was teaching myself how to use Illustrator this week. I made the picture above (that's my handwriting!!!!) and am getting the hang of some of the features. I'll probably do a tutorial on how to put your handwriting in text over a picture sometime soon!

FIVE // This door mat from Etsy

I have never seen something to more accurately describe me. I so wish I could fit this in my budget for my apartment! Order it here!

Happy weekend, y'all!



There is a field of sunflowers in Raleigh that has suddenly become famous. Park-a-mile-away-and-walk famous. There were murmurs about the field that is owned by the City of Raleigh, but it all of the sudden blew up. I've seen a blogger from Raleigh posting pictures there and Southern Living reposted someone's Instragram picture of it! It truly is a hit, and what's not to love? Sunflowers are my favorite flower, so I couldn't pass up an opportunity to go take a few snapshots of the field. I recently bought a new lens for my camera, so it was the perfect opportunity to test it out.

My parents and sisters had been Sunday evening and the flowers had started dying a bit since then. The vast majority of them were turned away (towards the east, where the sun rises), but they were beautiful nonetheless! The field is located along the road and along a walking/biking trail. There is a fence that separates the trail from the field because the field is city-owned property. It has become such a tourist attraction that there are now signs (and there have been multiple news reports) telling people not to trespass beyond the fence. No one pays attention to that rule, though, and there were multiple people in the field with their children taking pictures and even picking the flowers.

The flowers will be harvested later to be processed into biodiesel and the City of Raleigh has been applying wastewater sludge from the nearby water treatment plant to the field. I have to think that the people laying on the ground out there have no idea that's the case. It makes for beautiful blooms, but not necessarily the place to put your baby on the ground and take pictures!

The beauty of sunflowers never ceases to amaze me! Harrison asked me what I wanted him to put in his garden this year- I replied "sunflowers." Naturally, the sunflowers were the only thing he killed. Thanks, babe. At least I got my fix not too far from home!


Blue Ridge Parkway

I spent last weekend at Harrison's and we had intentions of going hiking with Sailor. Rain was threatening all Friday and Saturday morning, so we opted instead to leave Sailor at his house and drive a ways down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Parkway is a national parkway running 469 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Shenandoah National Park through 29 North Carolina and Virginia counties. I have mostly been on the Parkway towards Asheville, so I was excited to explore some of the sights up near Boone. Harrison and I didn't really have a plan (I navigated from his house to the Parkway via a map, and I'm a little surprised we're not still lost somewhere in the NC mountains), but just wanted to take our time and enjoy our day together.

We got on the Parkway where it intersects with NC 18 and headed south. We stopped at a few overlooks, and even though it was cloudy, we still had some incredible views! As we wound through the mountains, we took our time and pondered how people who on the Parkway considering it closes at some points during the winter. If anyone knows, please tell us because we couldn't figure it out! The mountain laurel is starting to bloom, so that gave an extra element of "wow, that is so pretty" to our drive. 

We passed a field of what we thought looked like yaks, so I made Harrison turn around so I could put my camera to use! They turned out to be Scottish Highland cattle, a hardy breed known for tender meat. They were really cool- and the babies were precious! I'm still working on convincing Harrison to buy a couple (; (Side note- one of my favorite things about the Parkway, and the mountains in general, are the locust-wood fence posts!)

We stopped at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park which includes the 1901 estate of the prosperous textile entrepreneur. The manor is now home to a craft center featuring handmade goods from local artists. The estate has miles of trails and we saw plenty of bikers, runners, dogs, and horseback riders! Harrison enjoyed reminiscing about rolling down the hill in front of the house as a kid. A few miles after, we came across Price Lake which looked like a lovely spot to go kayaking! There were tons of people enjoying the afternoon on the water and fishing. There was even a man stand-up paddle boarding!

We were getting hungry and trying to figure out where to go, but we ultimately decided on going to Grandfather Mountain to go across the Mile High Swinging Bridge! I had never been, and the price is a bit steep ($20 per person), but it includes a lot of other things, so we decided to pull the trigger. We went up the mountain first and quickly realized that they didn't lie to us about the wind. I was afraid of being blown off the mountain! Apparently, though highly debated, the highest wind speed on Earth was recorded at the top of Grandfather Mountain. The bridge itself is 80 feet above the gorge below it, but sits at 1 mile above sea level. I'm terrified of heights, but I didn't have too much of a problem crossing the bridge! After the short hike to the highest elevation I've ever been at (outside of an airplane), we made our way back down the mountain. One of the curves was ran by Forrest Gump in the movie (Tom Hanks actually filmed it himself, as opposed to his brother as his "run double"), so that was a neat tidbit to learn. They also have animal habitats (we saw a bear playing in her pool) and a museum that we looked through. 

After Grandfather Mountain, we headed to Boone and had a (very) late lunch at Lost Province Brewing Co. Downtown Boone is full of little spots, but we picked a good one! They have a "fancy" spin on pub/American food and really good beers. We had a buffalo chicken pizza and shared a flight of beer samples, which was the perfect amount for the afternoon.

We headed back relatively early, and thankfully so, because we ended up with a flat tire about 5 minutes from Harrison's house! Our adventures never have a dull moment!