If we are being honest, I am not ready for 2018 to end. I recall, so vividly, this time last year writing about how crippling 2017 had been and how 2018 was going to be the “year of the rise”… and rise it did! It isn’t that I have bad feelings about 2019, but I am going to miss 2018, I have just gotten comfortable with this year, despite all the changes it brought.
I have been going over 2018 in my head the last couple of days. I think back to this time last year, and at all the uncertainty it held when I looked into the new year. For example, I had no idea where I would be after graduation (or that I would get a dog in 2018)!!
I had so many unforgettable moments in 2018. From dream achievements to life learning realizations, 2018 was a year I will never forget.
Below, in no particular order, I am going to recap important moments from 2018, as well as lessons I learned along the way. Walk back through my year with me, if you’d like:
•Graduating college...in the moment, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal...but, it’s the moments afterwards that make it feel like the greatest thing you have ever done. I find myself telling people, “don’t graduate...the real world is not all it’s cut out to be,” which in turn makes me feel very old. However, I have grown more in the past six months since I walked across that stage on May 12, 2018, than I have in a many years combined. I graduated with a bachelor’s of science in Strategic Communications with two minors in Film, TV, Digital Media, & Communication Studies. I never thought that moment would come, and I believe that feeling of accomplishing something so pivotal, will always feel like magic.
•My last semester in college reminded me of my own strength, and one in which I had no idea I possessed. I removed toxic relationships and people from my life because I knew in order to find myself and be happy, I had to do so. (That’s a whole other conversation for a whole other post). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It wasn’t until I made that decision, and followed through, that I rose up from a dark hole I had been in for a while. My strength comes from God and my strength these days is unmatched.
•On June 2, 2018, after booking a last minute trip to Chicago, my best friend and I, both unemployed at the time, saw my favorite artist in the pouring down rain. Little did I know, I would end up seeing Taylor Swift 3 more times in 2018, but this moment in the windy city with Stephanie Bell, is the one I will be telling my kids about. We had so many worries about our unknown futures at the time. Regardless, we danced like no one was watching and I cried when Taylor surprised the audience by singing “22” because Steph and I were both 22 and in that stadium, at that moment, I felt like all was right with the world.
•I started working in the agriculture industry just two months before my grandfather retired from the same industry/company after 53 years. In that short overlapping time, I learned a lot about him and how much of a legend he is to those he has worked with and come across in his time at Riceland Foods, and in this industry. Words cannot describe how incredibly proud I was to be able to witness this, and I consider myself very lucky for this connection we formed in 2018. Again, we are so proud of his accomplishments, and we still celebrate his retirement every single day.
•I learned that God brought me back home to Arkansas after graduation to build me up. I know I am here, for now, to be showered with love and encouragement. I could not have done 2018 without my family. My parents are working harder than ever, plus they have me back at home part time. I have been able to attend most of my brother’s senior events as he prepares for graduation. I was able to see first hand him fall in love with a school and make his college decision. We had many great weekends in Fayetteville together. And another bonus, I have been able to be closer to my sister, Madison, than I ever have felt. I live with my aunt and uncle part time and it has been a time I will always cherish. I have spent so much time with my best friends from high school Maycen, Stephanie and Leighton. I feel more connected to them than ever. I also believe, Leighton Lawson takes the prize for favorite friend of 2018. There is no one like her and I love looking back at how our friendship grew this past year. I’ve also gotten to help with the family businesses and watch the different stores grow. Having a role in that feels very rewarding and makes me feel more a part of the team than ever. All of this, and them, have lifted me up to where I am today.
•The year wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Every day I learn more about mental health and battle my own demons. 2018 taught me that social media has such a negative effect on me, and many others, mentally. I haven’t figured it out yet, and I don’t know how I am going to fix it, but it is often a daily struggle for me and I know others feel the same. We constantly compare ourselves and allow likes to define us. I am hoping in 2019 I can find a way to be on social media in the most positive way, and I hope to help others as well.
•Southern and Thankful officially became an LLC (limited liability company) in 2018. It was a gift from my parents to me this Christmas, and it showed me that they believe in me and my dreams. I launched a new podcast with the queen of my life, Grace Lamb. 2019, is going to be a big year as the blog and company grows. I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things in place. Stay tuned!
I could go on and on about the trips I took, the friendships I formed, the mistakes I made, the delicious food I ate, the people I miss, the concerts I attended, or the lessons I learned, but I want to end with this…
One complement I have been receiving since the Podcast dropped is, “you sound happier than I’ve ever heard you.” Numerous people have said that, and when I hear this, I tear up because those words could not be more true. In 2018, I set out to learn how to love myself. On the last day of an incredible year, I can say with a 100% confidence that I achieved that goal. I love the way I look and feel. But even more, I love the person I am, and the heart I have. I believe wholeheartedly that you cannot love others or love your life, until you love yourself. I don’t love myself in a vein or selfish way, I promise. I love myself in a way that is healthy and in the way God taught me to. I aim to build on these things and hit 2019 running. I’m ready for the new challenges, memories, and to see where God takes me. I pray he protects my heart and mind everyday and that he continues to build me up. However, I know that when the time comes for whatever God has planned for me next, that I will be able to take all of this love and “buildups” on to the next path.
Thank you God for this year. Thank you for 2018. Happy New Year!
Southern and Thankful
Sometimes life is just funny... I feel like it has been ages since I've written. Truthfully, I’ve been pretty busy, working hard on several projects. So, let me tell you all about them!!! (Sorry this is going to be a longer post)
First, however, let me fill you in on a few things. Right after Thanksgiving, my AMAZING grandparents went with me to Fort Worth to clean out my storage unit. Ever since I graduated in May, I have had my things like furniture, my bed, etc. in a storage unit there because at the time I didn’t know what my next move would be. So, It just made sense to leave things there until I knew. Flash forward to today, and I still don’t know— SHOCKING lol— but since my family owns some storage units in my hometown, it made the most sense now to stop paying for that one unit all the way in Texas. Plus, all my winter sweatpants and joggers were in my unit down in Texas and I was needing them to wear sooner rather than later. My grandparents, JanJan and Bia, love me with this unconditional love that is so special. They drove down with me one day, and back the next, without me, but with a u-haul containing all my things, ans driving in the pouring rain. I needed to stay for a photoshoot and return to Arkansas the next day. I cannot thank them enough!!
It was also very bittersweet to be officially closing that TCU chapter in my life. In my mind, it wasn’t finished until I cleaned out that unit. Such a special place and time in my heart! However, it feels good to have all my things in one place making life a little more organized.
When I returned from Texas I actually flew in to Hot Springs because my car was there and I took this super small flight— Southern Air— into the Hot Springs airport. That week, my boss’s were out of town therefore, I got to work from wherever I wanted. I chose the Lake because in addition to work, i was launching some new things and this gave me the perfect place and peacefulness to get things done. I cannot tell you how I long for that week back. One of my favorite weeks post-grad thus far. And speaking of launching new things...
My new projects:
My darling friend, Grace Lamb, and I dropped our podcast called Saturation. We love pop culture, entertainment, celebrity news, and more. We constantly DM back and forth on Instagram about what’s going on in the world. Therefore, we decided to record a weekly podcast to share our thoughts and updates with YOU. I will put the links below on both Apple and Spotify.
This was a huge dream come true for me. It is a lot of work each week to edit, record, produce, and bring this to you, but it is so worth it. Also, we had to get the podcast approved after the first episode was recorded so that we could be on the primary streaming services. And we got approved!! THAT WAS A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT. I hope you will give it a listen and tell all your friends. Episode 4 comes out next week!!
2. THE 411
This is very similar to the podcast, but this one is just me each week. It’s my weekly newsletter that you receive to your e-mail after subscribing. I, in a very skimmed down fashion, update you on all things going on in pop culture + my life. I almost have 200 people that have subscribed which is crazy cool. To sign up, all you have to do is go to my homepage, follow the instructions, and you’ll get it every Tuesday!
3. NEW WEBSITE
I am currently in the process of getting a makeover online. My new website is coming in early 2019 and I can’t wait for you to see it. It is going to be so wonderful and allow me to take my blogging to the next level as well as bring back the fashion blogging element. Stay tuned!!
I am continually praying for God to guide me in the right direction. Here’s to hard work and a little fun along the way!
I tell you all of this to also share a quick story. I really needed that time alone at the lake to wrap up and release these projects, but also to spend some time with myself reflecting on this year. I felt such peace and protection while I was there. I am so grateful for that. However, you know I have a funny story.
You are probably wondering why this is titled “HOME ALONE” just like the famous Christmas movie. When I realized I was going to be over there for a while, I knew I needed to go to the grocery store. This is where my “Kevin McAllister from Home Alone” moment happened. I’m 23 years old. I’ve been to the grocery store alone, but I felt like everyone was looking at me the way they look at Kevin in the movie. I was buying the most random things... trying to be responsible, but also i’m a kid at heart. The check out person gave me that look like, where’s your Mom?” I spent the whole week Home Alone cooking mac and cheese like Kevin, putting up my small Christmas decorations like Kevin, and enjoying a little freedom like Kevin. When it came time to drive home to my family at the end of the week I found myself excited to see them like Kevin. I missed them like Kevin.
This Home Alone moment, this time of the year, made me feel extremely grateful for my family. After being in school a whole state away and not being able to see them as often, I’ve really enjoyed being around them. I have never been more close with them. It’s extremely unique, and one thing I am most thankful for this holiday season. Surround yourself with loved ones this Christmas. After all, they are the best gift. If you don’t have anyone or feel alone this Christmas, call me! You are always welcome to surround yourself with my loved ones.
Also, might I add...thank goodness I didn’t need two criminals breaking into my house to make me realize how much I loved my family!!
Merry Christmas y’all! Be thankful!
Southern and Thankful
It’s currently 6:25 a.m. & i’m coming to you live from the duck blind. HAPPY THANKSGIVING FAM!
Every thanksgiving, it has somehow become the family tradition to start the day with a duck hunt. Yes, a very early tradition, but also one of my favorites! I always feel an immense amount of gratitude while the sun rises with a full moon. It doesn’t feel like thanksgiving until i’m out here with the family!
Several people have asked me what I am thankful for this thanksgiving. It’s funny because I choose gratitude every day, but thanksgiving is like THE DAY everyone feels obligated to join me.
I have been giving mine some serious thought this year. After all, a lot has happened in the last year. Lots of changes & new chapters, which have all lead me back to one thing: my family & proximity.
You see, after spending 4 years in a different state attending college, I never saw myself back in Arkansas. I went months at a time, not coming home / not seeing my family. I got used to the distance and time + it was the price I paid to attend my dream school. I didn’t realize, until I moved back to Arkansas, started working here, living with my aunt and uncle, seeing my family virtually everyday, how much i missed them.
I am so grateful to be here & be with them. I think about my friends who are off in new places not near their family at all. It’s been kind of challenging because I don’t have that many friends nowadays or people to hangout with. However, I constantly feel so so lucky, because I do have my family. There is nothing better. I feel very fortunate to be around people who love me no matter what & support me no matter what. I know I am back in this place, with these people for a big reason. That is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving... this place & these people.
I pray each of you found multiple things to fill your heart with thankfulness on this Thanksgiving. It truly is so important. Sending lots of love & lots of thanks to each and every one of you. I have felt so much encouragement as I have graduated college, navigated through the adult world , AND started these new ventures with my brand. Y’all make me feel like a super star & that means the world to me. Therefore, thank you & happy thanksgiving to you!
This is probably one of my most exciting posts I have done in a while. I have been working on a lot of little projects, and I have to tell you about a colllab / announcement I am beyond pumped about.
First, a little back story:
For those who are unaware, my Mom and Aunt have owned a women’s clothing boutique for about 5 years now. Such a great addition to our small town & I am super proud of what hard working entrepreneurs they are. The boutique is called The Social Shop. Unlike most clothing stores, the Social Shop was founded on the idea of private shopping. They are open every day of the week, but people make regular private shopping appointments (at no cost) where they come in and have the shop to themselves. The Social Shop sits on the corner of a quiet street and itself is quite cozy. Anyone can go in and shop when they are open, however, you must ring the doorbell to gain access. We keep it safe, and again comfortable. Also, for those of you that do not live in Stuttgart, follow them on social media, @shopthesocialstuttgart because they ship for free!! They provide a very special services, we like to call it concierge service, and I have really not seen this type of service anywhere else, and that isn’t because I am biased either, lol.
Now that you are caught up:
I have wanted them to bring in men’s clothing for years now. Part of it was because selfishly I wanted to get good looking clothes for myself from them (lol), but also because I think men would really enjoy this shopping experience as well. Everything I know about style I have learned from my Mom and Aunt (who got it from my grandmother, JanJan). They have been picking out my clothing since I was born and let’s be honest, they still dress me to this day. As a male I really don’t like to try things on, like anyone else, and I certainly don’t like to in front of a bunch of people. Their expertise at this quaint shop + men’s clothing would be such a winning combination.
WELL, THE WAIT IS OVER…
In October, at market, we picked up our FIRST MEN’S LINE, and it has finally come in!!! If you haven’t heard of Barbour, you most definitely should. This brand is iconic. It has been around since 1894 and is famously worn by the British royal family (YES KATE, THE QUEEN, HARRY, WILLIAM,ETC.), but also famously worn by my Dad and me, too, if that counts.
Barbour now has 10 of its own retail shops in the UK, and a presence in over 40 countries worldwide including the United States, Germany, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and Japan. There are now over 5,000 products across the two seasons, and the collections now cater for Men, Ladies and Children (and dogs!!). Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the heritage and lifestyle clothing brand produces clothing that is designed for a full lifestyle wardrobe. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, knitwear and a range of accessories. Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.
I personally love their famous Wax Jackets and quilted vests. I hope guys will check out this brand exclusively at the Social Shop. And I would hurry because it is selling like crazy. Being able to announce this addition and in a way bring it to the Social Shop is SO FUN for me. Please reach out with any questions AND stay on the lookout for details about the Southern and Thankful X Barbour Pop Up Shop this Friday in downtown Stuttgart. I am currently so grateful that we are fortunate enough to bring this brand to my hometown with people I love so so much. This is going to be fun!
Subscribe to the “The 411” my weekly pop culture updates NOW on my homepage
Follow Saturation my new exciting venture coming December 5, 2018, with my talented friend Grace Lamb. This is going to be huge y’all!
Southern and Thankful
Writing this today reminds me of when I used to write every single day & about such simple things to be grateful for. All feels right in the world!
Today, and every day, I am thankful for my car. I was talking with a friend the other day about times when we didn’t have our cars for an extended period of time. For example, when I got into an accident on college move in day and my parents had to bring my car back to Arkansas to be repaired. I didn’t have my car for almost a month. Having grown up in a place with NO public transpiration and everything being so close, the idea of walking or taking the bus seemed so foreign at the time.
Now, in present day I find myself using my car way more than I probably ever have. A lot of the time, I’m commuting an hour each way between work and home. Some days that is frustrating, but most days, especially recently, I have been thankful to have a car and thankful to have the time. Some people are not even fortunate enough have any mode of transportation but their own two feet.
I have also been using this time In my car to do a lot of talking to God and lifting up different prayer requests to him. I have realized, especially with this weird life stage I am in, that spending this time with Him is one of the best things I can do. It beats worrying or stressing out over things I have little to no control over. I highly recommend that you do this, too, if you have any type of commute during your work day. I’m so thankful that God is there and he is happy to listen!
Also, let’s not forget that I have clothes and shoes and cameras and food and basically my whole life in my car at the moment. When people ask where I am living these days I usually reply with a laugh… “basically out of my car” because it is so true!! Thank goodness I have this space that is my own that gets me to and from safely…I don’t know what I would do without it.
PUMPKINS, PUMPKINS, PUMPKINS everywhere and I love it!! The round, orange, plant is the ultimate symbol of fall, and again, I LOVE IT.
This time of year you see all sorts of people trying to get the artsy pictures with the fall foliage (me- guilty) or coming up with the most creative costume to gain the most compliments.
*some of my favorites have been Cardi B and Offset, Camila Cabello and Havana, or Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande… y’all know I love good celebrity humor*
After being in Texas for four years, I don't really know how to explain it, but its been like I an noticing fall all over again. In Texas, it felt like things went from Summer to Winter in the course of a day, but being back in Arkansas I have felt it get cooler & I’ve watched the leaves turn colors day after day. It is like I totally forgot about fall.
As a result of my rekindled love for all things Autumn, I wanted to get in the spirit. The last time I visited a pumpkin patch was in the like the 2nd grade. Gosh, those were such fun memories from my childhood. I decided I wanted to go back to a pumpkin patch after all these years. Who better to do that with than my best friend since birth (I am sure there is a picture of the two of us from grade school at the pumpkin patch somewhere), Stephanie Bell? So, Steph, our friend Callie, and I went to the patch this past weekend and it was so cool to see again. I will admit, not as exciting as being a little boy and not having a care in the world, or worrying about how muddy your shoes are getting. However, I am so glad we went!
It just felt like pure fall there. The hayride, all the pumpkins, the corn maze, and the petting zoo + great weather all made for a fun day at BoBrook Farms. I highly recommend!
*see cheesy and basic pics we took because that is what you have to do at the pumpkin patch*
It just so happened, the following day at church my pastor brought out pumpkins and did this really cool analogy that I had kind of been thinking / feeling in my head. So I am kind of stealing from his sermon, but also kind of not! God was already trying to teach me this little analogy.
I feel like right now, in my life, I am letting God carve my pumpkin. When we buy pumpkins to carve and take part in the old tradition, the first thing we do is take all the yucky stuff on the inside, out… then we carve it. It is so important to also ask God to do the same with our own self. We should ask him to take out all the junk. To get rid of the greed, selfishness, envy, bad-mouthing, negativity, etc. Once he does that, our light is really able to truly shine. Just like how the light shines from within the pumpkin after it has been carved and designed perfectly. Therefore, all throughout this fall season, I am going to ask God to carve me just like we carve pumpkins. Oh, and I am going to be thankful for it!
Happy Halloween! Happy pumpkin carving season, both literally and figuratively! Let us all give thanks!
Southern and Thankful
I just have to vent for a second because venting is healthy right? I am not even going to try and sugarcoat things on this one. To put it quite simply: I have been very frustrated with God lately.
Not in an “I’ve given up on him or don’t believe in this plan anymore”. Actually, I have more faith in him currently than I have had in a long time. However, having faith takes a lot of patience, which is something I seem to be running out of at the moment.
I feel a lot of things these days... To sum it up nicely, I feel: stuck. You see, I am not complaining about my life right now. I am working in Little Rock. I have a home (it’s different depending on the day, but a home nonetheless), I have food, I am making money, etc. I have the things I need, but none of this is what I thought my life would look like at the age of 23.
Growing up, I cannot remember one person I looked up to career wise. I had many great role models with excellent values that taught me many things and made me the man I am today. However, to this day I can’t place my finger on one person I know that I want to be like career wise. My therapist and I (yeah I have one… better question is why don’t you??) came to the conclusion that it was one of the reasons I wanted to go out of state for college. I wanted to see that the dreams I was so intrigued by were possible for a boy like me from a small town in Arkansas.
*at this point if you think I am crazy for thinking this way or that I am being unrealistic… stop reading. I don’t want that negative energy*
You can imagine my surprise when God placed me right back in Arkansas. Again, not mad about that one bit, but I am not going to lie...it has been challenging for me in ways I can’t even begin to fully explain. God and I have been having a lot of serious talks and I understand I am back in Arkansas to prove myself and others wrong. I can accomplish my dreams being from this wonderful state and I will, because I want to be that role model that I never really had all these years.
I consider myself a creative person and I have 1,000 ideas in my head at all times, but I have never really been quite sure how to accomplish them. Besides hard work, I don’t have the connections or people to learn from. Again, I feel stuck.
Last night my mind was racing, and I had a memory come up. One time, when I was little, I got stuck in this muddy water while hunting in the middle of winter. I fell down in the water and could not get up on my own. I was also frozen solid because...duck hunting in the winter. Anyway, I remember being scared, but also being plain mad. That feeling is very similar to how I feel right now in my life. Of course, back then, someone quickly came and helped me up. I know the same thing will happen to me this go round, but the waiting and the overthinking is a lot.
I want to write a book. I am writing a book. I want to write songs. I want to write TV shows or movies. I want to do anything where I can use my storytelling skills. My ideas rotate and change every day, but at the core of it, I want to be a positive influence. I want to inspire others. Funny thing, I can feel it coming. Like a train head on. I know that with all my heart. Therefore, right now I am thankful to be stuck because everything that is jammed always finds its way loose. Watch out because as soon as I wiggle my way out of this, I’m gonna be THAT guy that other young ones from our small town (and state) can look up to for inspiration!! If you are stuck, be grateful! I know that means something good is coming so soon!
Southern and Thankful
Did you know that September is National Rice Month? Did you know that Arkansas is the number one Rice producing state in the country?
SO YEAH…Rice is a big deal. Especially around the state of Arkansas! It is really funny because growing up in the “duck and RICE capitol of the world” I knew Rice was really important to my state and community. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realized how big of a deal it was on a national level.
Since May I have been working with Arkansas Rice and I have been learning a lot about the agriculture industry. One of the best stories however, comes from my friend Kenzie who is like the biggest Rice supporter ever. She is from Colorado and we became the best of friends last year at TCU. She has a food allergy and one day she was telling me about how much she has loved rice ever since a young age because it was one of the few things she could eat and not get sick. Turns out her favorite brand is Riceland Rice, which is headquartered right in Stuttgart, AR, where I grew up! Such a small, crazy, fun world! Food allergies were never something that crossed my mind when thinking about Rice.
Growing up I would always request mashed potatoes at family dinner and my grandfather would kindly let me know that potatoes were not an option, we needed to have a rice dish because, "boy this is a house that rice built." That will always stick in my mind because rice has been a huge part of my family ever since I can remember! Many people, certainly in the state of Arkansas, can relate to this! For me, Arkansas Rice is healthy and, especially lately, I find some way each day that rice has inevitably impacted my life! #WhyILoveARRice I am learning each day to be more and more grateful for Arkansas Rice!
I am constantly surprised by all the fun facts pertaining to Rice. To learn more and further educate yourself like I have been doing, I suggest you follow @ArkansasRice on social media. We use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the most. Not only am I one of the people running these accounts, but I also just think it is a great way to learn more about this crop that is so impactful.
I never imagined or saw myself working in this type of industry where we talk about farming and harvest and RICE every day. However, I must tell you it is pretty fun! I believe I am enjoying it more than I realized because I am learning different things every single day! Moral of the story, I am thankful for Arkansas Rice not just this month because it is Rice Month, but always because it is part of the “house/community that built me”. There is only one week left in Rice Month, however, I am always thankful for Arkansas Rice!
PS- Comment or find some way to tell me why you love Arkansas Rice and I will possibly share on social media AND/OR enter you in our Rice Month giveaway. YAY!
HAPPY RICE MONTH 2018!
Southern and Thankful
This is my very favorite shirt to wear. You may be wondering, why? That, my friends, is precisely why I love wearing this shirt. No matter when I wear it or where I wear it to, someone always asks, “what’s that number on your shirt?” Just yesterday, I heard one girl tell her friend to take a picture of me, and they could google the telephone number: 1-800-273-8255
These 11 individual numbers make up 1 phone number. This 1 phone number is the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It also is the title of a song by Alessia Cara & Logic. Thousands of people who are struggling call this number in one single day. When I wear this shirt it opens up dialogue and conversation on a topic that is so misunderstood & also overlooked: mental health struggles
I don’t care who you are or how perfect you make your life look on social media. EVERYONE, and I mean everyone, struggles at some point with something. The severity will be different, but no one on this earth is immune to struggle. Yet, it is the one topic we seem to be the most afraid of. Anxiety, depression, suicide, self-harm, addiction, etc. are all forms of mental health disorders & we look at people with these issues like a monkey behind bars at the zoo. As a natural instinct we judge one another to make ourselves feel better, me included.
As a person who has struggled, I know there is not one single answer to this problem that is rapidly taking over our nation. No one has all the answers, but I believe the best place to start is by 1). prayer and 2). love. God can and will solve all problems as long as you let him in. We are all busy. We are all tired. We are all lazy. None of this is an excuse for loving your neighbor. Call a friend. Smile at a stranger. Hug your brother. Text your family. Buy someone lunch. Take the time to truly listen. If someone is struggling... trust me, they will show it in some way or form. Forgive and forget the past... all we have is the future & I want as many of you in my future as possible !!!
Mental Health struggles are an ugly thing. We as humans internally battle demons every single day. The forgotten have walked through fires and not made it out alive. Others of us have walked through that same fire, yet they have come out a stronger, braver, better person than you can ever imagine or relate to. It doesn’t make them better than you or worse than you... it makes them incombustible.
This week is Suicide Prevention week. Don’t give up on yourself & never give up on one another. If you or someone you know is struggling please call this number on my shirt. For more information please visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org … let’s help one another fight their fires. I love each and every one of you. Today and everyday I am thankful for this number, those who answer the call, and the ability to be incombustible.
Southern and Thankful
This week for many marks the beginning of another year of school. Honestly, really weird that I am not starting classes again, but at the same time, it’s pretty great. I remember one year ago, I was starting a pretty lax senior year class wise. However, I was SO freaked out about what the next year would bring and what I would be doing post-grad. Fast-forward to now, where I have a job, back in the state of Arkansas surrounded by my family and oldest friends. I never would have thought this is where I would be, but let me remind you… God & his plans are SO good.
Last summer, I was having lunch with one of my favorite ladies, Mrs. Meredith Jackson. We always talk about a wide range of topics when we get together. Somehow she started telling me about how she had taken a section of her closet, which was big enough, and made a prayer wall. She had seen this wall in the movie “War Room” (which is wonderful, by the way). She explained how she wrote every little prayer she had, light or serious, on that wall. She said when she walked in her closet there was always this immense peace she felt. She suggested I do the same because I had told her I was going to be having a very large closet. If you visited my house last year in Fort Worth, you have probably seen my prayer wall / remember the size of my closet. Gosh I miss that thing. Anyways, Mrs. Meredith said everyday she would read her bible, add things to the wall, and pray over them. I decided I should do the same.
Y’ALL. It made such a difference in my life. I loved being able to see all the good and bad things up on the wall. I had a decorative wood painted bible verse on the wall and then I would write my prayers, worries, fears, etc. on a note card and tape each individual thought on the wall. It grew to fill the whole wall eventually. Obviously, a lot of it was private and personal, but it felt good to see it each day and ask God for help and praise him at the same time.
Every so often I would take a black sharpie and place check marks on the things that had been resolved. It has so fulfilling seeing the different ways God was working in my life, as well as in others. It simply made my life so much better. I felt less stressed. I was reminded every time I walked in my closet to pray. Oddly, like Mrs. Meredith said, there was this particular peace in that room.
Lately, with all the change going on in my life, I have been feeling more anxious than normal. A few weeks ago I realized that part of it was because I didn’t have my prayer wall set up where I am now. It is something I will be doing this week. If you have bad anxiety this is such a simple yet effective way to reduce it.
Like I said, I placed so many things on that wall. I had a few pictures, bracelets from fun events, memorabilia, stresses, the negative / positive things in my life, and generally anything I felt that would fit there. Every time I walked in my closet I felt so so grateful. Therefore, my advice for anyone in general, but especially those starting school… find a space, big or small, and make a prayer wall. It will enrich your life in ways you can’t even imagine! I will share pictures I took of my prayer wall before I took it down last May. I miss it, but I can’t wait to start fresh with a new one. Stay tuned! Also, fill free to ask any questions as you make your own! You won’t regret it. In fact, shocking I know, I believe you will be thankful for it!!
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!