"See over 4 million brilliant bulbs transform approximately 17 acres into a memorable animated holiday display in one of Arkansas’ most anticipated events. Complimentary hot chocolate." Sounds fun, right?
These gardens are located in the Southwest Arkansas Ouachita Mountains and they are a perfect example of why we are the Natural State. During the holiday's they decorate the place with more lights than I have ever seen before in one place. It is actually so pretty!! The last time I went I was pretty young so I was kind of excited to go back. It is a big deal here in Arkansas and if you ever get the chance I recommend it. Just something fun to do this time of year!
I was also pretty excited to go because that meant we were official on our traditional news years get away. If we do not have other plans, most new years we come to our lake place and it is always so fun! I am excited to relax and also get some things done!
Some things to look forward to in the next couple of days:
1. As I mentioned yesterday, I am going to be doing some news things to the site to make the shopping experience easier. It should be finished soon!
2. I will, of course, be sharing my new years resolutions.
3. I will be sharing the one big thing I learned this year!
I am excited to finish 2015 in the right way! Keep your eye out for some exciting things!
I hope you all take the time to reflect on some last minute things to be thankful for as you finish 2015! Happy almost 2016!
Southern and Thankful
Friends, I am keeping things short and sweet tonight because I have spent a large amount of hours today on this website and I am ready to take a break. In my bed. With my eyes closed. If you know what I mean!
I am working very hard on some new things for the website and the shopping aspect of Southern and Thankful! Until this is up and going you will notice that the option to order shirts online is no longer available. Technically it is I have just hidden it from you until it is ready! If you would like to order a shirt we have three lovely businesses that would be happy to help you out! @cokerhampton @brownbag @bluedoor
So sorry for this inconvenience, but I think you will like what I am working on... If I can ever get it finished. It is harder than I thought it was going to be!
Please let me know if you have any questions! Hopefully I will have exciting things to share with you tomorrow! Until then stay tuned and stay thankful...especially in the final days of 2015!
Southern and Thankful
This question is directed at those who have not walked down the isle to say the two magic words, "I do." My question is do you ever imagine your wedding day and what it will be like?
Where will it be?
When will it be?
Who all will be in attendance?
Who all will not be in attendance?
Who will be standing next to you?
Who will be facing you? (AKA who is committing to a lifetime with you?)
It's one of the things I tend to think about when I'm really bored. (Hope that isn't a bad thing lol). But today I have it on the brain because it just so happens to be my parents 24th wedding anniversary!! How great is that?! We have been in the car a majority of the afternoon attending a funeral (unfortunate they got to do that on there special day), but the cool thing is that we got to talk a little about what was happening 24 years ago at the exact moment. It is one of those days my parents and everyone near and dear to them will never forget!
They know all the answers to the questions above, but I am sure at one point in time my Mom and Dad both wondered the same types of things! As did those of you who have been/are married.
I know girls that plan there weddings out to littlest detail and it is fun for them! It is a dream for them!! And just like any dream it is a great thing to have and do. Even though we all have dreams, the ironic thing is that God already has every detail worked out. He knows the answers to all those questions. He knew my Mom and Dad were supposed to be together and he know 24 years later here we would be celebrating at McDonalds.
My parent's 24 years of marriage is proof that he works everything out and he does it for a reason. He knows our dreams and he will help us accomplish them best he can. Thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me what it looks like to be living a dream. I am sure it doesn't a always feel like that, but at one pint in your life I know you dreamed of days like today. Years down the road with kids and great memories to tell. I am so lucky to have the two of you! Thanks for helping me achieve my dreams and loving me unconditionally! Happy 24 years of fun and love! I am lucky to have been a part of 20 out of the 24 years! I know you are happy about that too;)
The picture below was taken todaywhen I asked:
"Make a face that describes how you were feeling on this day at this moment exactly 24 years ago!"
We all have dreams. We all want to fall in love and we all think we know what that looks like. Truth is only God knows. But by the looks of my parent's 24 years of marriage... I believe I will thankfully trust him!
Southern and Thankful
I did not have the privilege to really know Price "the rock" Hancock, but it is obvious he had a special place in this small southern hometown of mine. If you read yesterday's post then you know I asked for prayers for the Hancock family because Price Hancock passed away yesterday afternoon after battling brain cancer. Price was 14 years old. Things like this always have a huge impact on a small town full of people with some of the biggest hearts in the world. Our hearts hurt because Price will be missed everyday. His teammates will miss him. His friends will miss him. His coaches will miss him. His family will miss him. Odds are anyone that had the opportunity to know Price will miss him. Even though many are hurting, everyone is encouraged and is finding comfort in knowing that Price is no longer in pain. He is no longer hurting. He is home. For a boy who fought harder than any boy at the age of 14 should have to fight, Price is finally no longer fighting. That is something my town is celebrating and it is something that is truly special to witness. Stuttgart, AR is so strong and Price is one of the many reasons we are such a strong community.
Yesterday I also implied how good sales were this month with it being the Holidays. Such great news especially because now that it is the final Sundayof December and the final Sunday of 2016, that means I will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to some type of organization or group who truly needs it. I do believe I know just where your money is going this month.
Price was being treated at St. Jude Hospital. St.Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Everything they do is centered around finding cures and saving children. This is why I have chosen to support their lifesaving efforts through this special fund in honor of Price "the rock" Hancock.
To learn more about Price and his legacy please visit his official Facebook group:
To donate yourself to this hospital in honor of Price please visit:
Price was young, but God used him in a way that very few people will understand. He inspired many and he truly has left a mark on this town. I am thankful for that as I know many others also are. Please remember to keep the family in your prayers. Price is no doubt shining over Stuttgart, AR, for many days to come. I so wish I could have officially met him, but the way my brother and everyone else talks... I know he was very special. I am very happy to make a Southern and Thankful donation in honor of him and his fighting sprit. Remember December is not officially over so if you buy a shirt in the next couple of days you will still be honoring Price through Southern and Thankful.
Price, I am sure, was Southern and Thankful.
Southern and Thankful
Christmas at my household was one to remember and for Southern and Thankful it was also one to remember. Yesterday I mentioned it was our first Christmas as a brand and I, personally, do not think I could have asked for a better one. Shirts seemed to sell so well and I know several people were receiving them for Christmas, but I didn't really think about the fact that people wanted/asked for them. People opened them on Christmas morning. It was SO cool seeing Southern and Thankful in the mix of other gifts or seeing friends and others posting that they were wearing Southern and Thankful on Christmas. I mean it was really cool. Yesterday morning I was looking at various snapchat stories and started noticing the shirts in various people's stories. It took me a minute to really process it! Very exciting! As the day went on several people texted, snap chatted, and tagged me in photos of their Southern and Thankful shirts. I cannot really explain how special that was! I really could not have asked for a better gift!
This brand as a mission and message that I intend to spread by making and selling shirts. I cannot think of a better time for that message to be heard and/or seen. This time of year really makes me appreciate and realize the many blessings God has given me. I am thankful for the opportunity to take my words and turn them into something that others can wear and help in spreading the message. I am so thankful that Southern and Thankful was able to experience its first Christmas!
Also friends, do me a favor and keep the Hancock Family in your prayers. Price Hancock was 14 years old and passed away today after battling brain cancer. I did not really know Price, but I know his family and many people loved and cared for him. I can't even imagine! Keep them in your prayers please and know that God is taking great care of Price now.
I am so thankful that I was in your hearts and homes this Christmas season. I cannot wait to see what the future holds. The best part about that is knowing I will have your contented support. What a Southern and Thankful Christmas it was!
Southern and Thankful
Today really is one of the best days of the year. There is just something so traditional and special about Christmas Day! Yummy food, Christmas literally everywhere, being able to take in all the Christmas decorations, and spending time with family makes for the best day. I am learning that as you grow older the gifts become a little less fun! Not that I didn't love my gifts, I got great clothes, things for Italy, etc., but in the moment these things aren't as fun! I cannot wait to wear them and be in Italy, but when you are a kid you normally get all these toys and games. I mean in today's society it seems technology is everywhere. And then as kids we spend the whole day playing with those new fun things! I remembered getting phones, computers, iPods, a four wheeler, and many other things that fall into this category over the years. I hope you don't think I'm not appreciative or excited. I am saying that things are changing and Christmas is a little different each year. But it is not a bad thing because not only do you still get great gifts, but you also seem to learn and appreciate them a lot more.
I have really pushed "remember the real reason for the season" because I think it is something that is so important in our world. We get caught up in the decorations, the food, the fun, and especially the gifts, when often we don't seem to remember why we even have all of those things in the first place. Jesus was born on this day, in a manger which was basically in a barn. If our powerful and loving savior can come into this world like that, then I don't even need any gifts. All he had was love and that is all we really need this holiday season. Today as we opened gifts and the wrapping paper scraps piled up, I couldn't help but be thankful. It is great that we are able to give like that, but take that all away and I still have everything I truly need. I didn't need new things because the best things have been in my life for the past 20 Christmases. My family, a roof over our head, a bible, and a Christmas tree. We don't even have to have all of those things, but when it boiled down to it, that is what I consider the best gift. And the best part is that our God gave me that gift. No one else did! I think today I was in shock at how great that feeling is. To know that the best gifts truly come from God and that he does provide always. So for those of you who are upset because you didn't get something you wanted or you got the wrong size or wrong gift all together.... build a bridge and get over it. Our savior came into this world without some flashy big ticket Christmas item and I don't think that you really need that in your life to function either. It always comes down to the simple things. The things that you can't imagine life without. Those are the things to be thankful for this Christmas.
Jesus was born with a family and friends, in a warm place, surrounded by God's love. If that is not enough for you this Christmas then I hate to break it to you, but you did not celebrate Christmas today. You joined in on this celebration because it is tradition to get gifts. Because it is an opportunity to get excited about something for a day and then realize you want something else tomorrow. That is not what life is about. Life is about being content and recognizing the truly important things. Christmas is a day where it is either really easy to get lost in that OR it is really easy to be content in that. I pray that you understand the reason for the season because believe me if you did not, then you did not celebrate Christmas, at least for the right reasons. I am thankful for my wonderful gifts, but when it comes down to it I am thankful to have all the same gifts that Jesus had when he was born on to this earth to change it many many years ago. Christmas is about loving others, GIVING gifts, and being thankful that Jesus was born on this day to forever alter the world. I am thankful that I was able to see just how important the essential gifts are. Like I said, every year the way I see my Christmas presents change, but they become much more rewarding because I am slowly, but surely celebrating the proper reason for the season!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Southern and Thankful
It is the eve of Christmas Eve and this week has been crazy to say the least. Christmas always comes so fast and every year it always seems to surprise me. No matter what, I am excited! I have been really lacking this week (disappointed in myself), but I still don't think I have recovered from finals completely. The past two nights I have fallen asleep pretty early watching TV on the couch. Imagine my surprise when I wake up hours later and realize that I have not blogged yet. Hate when that happens! I was especially bummed because Monday was such an important day. For so many years my Dad, brother, and I have taken a day ringing the Salvation Army bell right before Christmas. More recently I have taken a day and asked others in the community to sign up for hour shifts on that day. I end up getting to do it a couple of times, but it is a great to get others involved in my community. I always look forward to it because it is a great way for me to really get my mind set right for Christmas. You know, it puts things in the right perspective. Jesus is the reason for the season and there is more to unwrapping presents! It used to be something I was forced to do, but now it is something I see the value in. Always something that I am thankful for.
Huge thank you to my fellow volunteers that took the time to ring the bell on Monday. I know the Salvation Army REALLY appreciates it and so do I. At the end of the day they were so grateful. Really made me appreciate all your work!!
Thank you to the good Lord for always putting this job on my heart and for partnering with Mother Nature to provide us with the proper weather. Some years I have done it and I thought I was going to freeze. Therefore I know it could have been worse and I see how much more enjoyable it is to ring when it's not about to snow out. Though I do kind of wish it were colder with it almost being Christmas and all.
Thank you to my Dad who always pushed me to do this and thank you to my parents for both raising me in a way where I learned the importance of giving back. I would not be doing this if it weren't for you and your lessons that you instilled in Mills and I at a young age.
Thank you to Mayflower and Salvation Army for allowing us to do this. Not that we were competing or anything, but several people mentioned how great it was and how much better we were than Wal-Mart. I am thankful for this local tradition at this local small town business.
Lastly, a massive thank you goes to all those that gave 5 seconds of their time and a little bit of their money. I know this organization so appreciates it and as someone who stands there for a good part of the day with the bell sound stuck in his head, I also appreciate you. Also, standing there for large parts of the day, you learn that some people need to learn to make lists! I saw some of the same people 2-3 times a day. Crazy! (Hahaha).
It would not be Christmas without this crucial tradition. I am now ready to celebrate the baby's birth because I am now in a place where that all makes sense. Please remember the reason for all this. The real reason as we go into these next couple of exciting days! I know it makes a huge difference in the way we spend our day! Merry (almost) Christmas friends! May we be overwhelmed with things to be thankful for! May you drop your change in the Salvation Army bucket. May you be thankful for the real reason for the season!
Southern and Thankful
Y'all I do not know what has gotten into me, but I do know I am finding it extremely hard to share with y'all how great my day was yesterday (Monday). This is now the second time I have attempted to share, but it is also second time I have been battling sleep. My eyes will not stay open when I try to share my with you all. So maybe tomorrow I will have better luck?
I am seriously so sorry, but I wanted to update you guys on my day ringing the salvation army bell. Especially since it is Christmas week. I hope you are all finding things to be thankful for and I hope you are not letting the busyness of this time get to you like it is getting to me. I have now yawned 500 times while writing this post. Merry (almost) Christmas to all and to all a good night (seriously)!!
Southern and Thankful
Today we celebrated Christmas with my Dad's side of the family, which is always a fun tradition. Things have changed there is no doubt about that, but I do always enjoy time with them right before the holiday! Good food, catching up, and lots of Christmas cheer, but one thing in particular stood out to me. On this day, 64 years ago, my Papaw boarded a ship to sail across the world to join the army. To join the fight. This close to Christmas. All those years ago. How amazing and inspiring.
And so tonight, as I sat here before bed I thought about leaving on a boat of complete strangers, less than a week before Christmas, of all times, and if I would be able to do something like that to protect my country. My answer is no. I could only ever do that if I felt called to do so, but that is not something I could ever physically/emotionally do at age 19/20, which is also how old my Papaw was at the time. But that does not mean I am not going to encourage and pray for those who do have that gift. There are many people who will be without their loved ones this holiday because their loved one is out fighting to make our world a better place and that, my friends, is the greatest Christmas gift we could ask for. Someone is giving up opening presents, and listening to the Christmas story because they are doing the ultimate duty. That speaks volumes for me. Please join me in praying for our armed forces this week. We are able to enjoy this time because others make that possible. Others have fought and others have sacrificed and they are still to this day fighting and sacrificing so that we may have a Merry Christmas. Think about them. Pray for them. Be thankful for them as you do anything to celebrate Christmas. They are a huge part in our Christmas whether we know it or not!
Thank you Papaw for your service and for opening my eyes as to whom I should be thankful for this Christmas. I may not be able to serve in that way, but I can pray and support those who can. Good bless them and Merry Christmas to those who have and who continue to make Christmas possible!
Southern and Thankful
I believe I am finally starting to recover from finals week. I am feeling rested and I think I know what the cure was...The Christmas Tree. The few weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas is insane for college students. The end of the semester is almost like being stuck in a hole. You can't really see out therefore you know nothing that is going on. AKA you barely know it's Christmas time and it sure doesn't feel like it. But today I have been in my Christmas PJs, watching Christmas movies, by the Christmas tree and I believe it is starting to feel a lot like Christmas and less like finals week. About time huh?
I hope you all are feeling the Christmas spirit and feeling thankful for it. I know it was just what I needed to get out of that hole known as finals! Oh how I love this time of year. Enjoy it while it lasts folks!
Southern and Thankful
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A recent graduate from Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!