This may be a tad bit hard for some to relate to, but I am going to give it a go.
You see, as a millennial, we are going to have some “firsts” that other generations will not have. For example, the first TV show we binged. Stay with me, I promise this is important.
I have always loved television shows. The stories they tell, no matter how dramatized they may be. However, as long as I live I do not think I will admire a show more than I have admired the series “Nashville.” It was the first show I binged watched to get caught up to it “real time”. I have loved it ever since. It always stood out to me and I believe I connected with it for reasons other than the cast, or the storylines (though I have been obsessed with all that), but this show has always done a remarkable job at representing the city of Nashville and the making of some wonderful music. I even ran in to Charles Esten (who plays one of the main characters) in Nashville of all places. He was so down to earth and so similar to his character, in the good ways, which made me love the show even more.
I was continually so mind blown by the idea that not only could I watch the show each week, but that I could also then buy the songs. Just as easily as I can equate chart topping songs back to a moment in my life… I can do the same with songs from this series Nashville. There is one song that I listened to on repeat in the Spring of 2017. My anxiety and depression was hitting pretty hard and this song, titled “Sanctuary” gave me immense comfort. I still to this day cannot listen to it without crying. Words are powerful enough on their own, but when you turn them to music, I believe (and know), they have the power to heal. That is one of the great things I learned by watching this show.
For the longest time I wanted to be just like these characters and musicians. Funny...because I cannot sing at all. I am not sure when I realized this, but one day I remember watching the show and having this major eye-opening moment that I didn’t want to be like the performers or the actors… I wanted to be like the songwriters. The people that create such magical pieces of art. It’s so comical because once I had this realization, I got this crazy idea that I could turn my words and poems that I have been writing for years into music as well. So surprise…. I have been songwriting (if you can call it that at this stage) and I am even learning to play the piano. Really exciting, and hopefully with hard work, my songs can affect others the way Nashville’s affected me.
This show has given me so much and, you might be thinking that this sounds crazy because it is a TV show, but God’s timing is so wonderful & I feel like I watched this show so that it could inspire me. And wow...that it has! Thank you Callie, Connie, Lennon, Maisy, Charles, Hayden, Clare, Sam, + everyone else that made this show lifechanging for me. You will never know the magnitude at which you have impacted your fans. I already miss it & those friendly characters, but I look forward to seeing how I can take the love for songwriting that I found thru this show and turn it into a reality. I never would have found that, or made it through dark times, without Nashville. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, if anyone remotely close to the show ever see’s this, you are appreciated!
PS- The show is on Hulu…I 100% encourage you to watch. Also, I know very little about songwriting, or how to even go about getting my stuff out there. So...If anyone has ANY tips or wants to help me out, I would not mind one bit (actually...I would be totally grateful!!).
Southern and Thankful
LISTEN TO THIS.
Two Sunday's ago we are at Lunch following church. Happens every week with the same people. Everyone is chatting, catching up, talking about the service, etc. when all of the sudden my Dad...and I quote, says:
“Bethea family when we get home us four are having a family meeting. I am the President & I am calling this meeting. We have only ever had about 4 of these in my lifetime, so you know it is serious.”
Now, what he said was true. Rarely, do we have family meetings. Therefore, I was nervous. In my mind I immediately go to all these worse case situations. I pretty much immediately decide that this has something to do with me, and the fact that I don’t need to be on my parents dime anymore. WHICH IS DISASTROUS IN MY MIND.
So I hurry home hoping to get this thing over with. Long story short, my Dad takes a nap(!!)...pushing back this family meeting, leaving me to sit and worry ALL DAY. I mean y’all… Talk about anxiety. I as freaking. Out.
Later that day my Dad gathers us all and I have decided (internally) that this is the movement. They are cutting me off and going to ask me to work on getting my own place, paying my own bills, etc. Granted these things are coming in the future and I will be ready for it, but NOT ON THAT DAY I WAS NOT.
We all sit down in the living room and he passes each of us a notecard. In my head, I am thinking, “This is it. He is playing this out like survivor. We are about to vote and see if I am getting kicked off the island AKA out of the house AKA no more parental support.” My only hope was that the others felt enough sympathy to keep me around. My plan was to threaten moving to California and hope that this would freak my mother out enough to save me. Then Dad says:
“Okay it is time we talk about this dog,” says my Dad.
I, was extremely confused, but oddly relieved!! In the stress of my worry I had really forgotten that Mills, my younger brother, has been wanting a lab to train to hunt with him. The problem though...our childhood dog, Nick, passed away when I was in the 6th grade and my parents said no more dogs until we were off living on our own. Somehow Mills had worked them down enough to even being open to a conversation about it, which is better than I ever did...growing up so badly wanting a dog...cue the violins...
Anyway, there was lots of conversation at this family meeting and it was decided that we would get the dog, as long as Mills and I shared responsibilities, etc. SO… Not only am I not getting the boot, but I am also apparently getting a dog!!! Talk about a crazy turn of events. We can’t wait to welcome this sweet dog to our family. We have already picked him out and everything! Therefore, stay tuned for updates, lots of pictures, and send us any name suggestions you have. I live to see another day in the Bethea Family Household! Moral of this story: thankful feelings can come from family meetings! PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!!!
Southern and Thankful
Today is my last day of being 22 years old. Well, depending on when you read this, I turn 23 this Friday, July 6th. It is so crazy me that this year is already over. For the rest of my life I believe I will tell people 22 was one of my favorite ages. I entered this year so steady and unsure of what was ahead, but today, a whole year later I can confidently say this year I have grown more than any other.
22, the Taylor Swift Year in case you were unaware. People call it that because of Swift’s hit song “22”. Might I add that this year at the age of 22, I saw Swift sing 22 live. Pretty cool moment! That, as well as 1000 other reasons, is why I have loved being 22. This year I found strength I never had, realized the confidence I had, and did some overall painful work to make myself a better person, brother, friend, and Christian. I also graduated college- a huge accomplishment in my book. I gained new friends while some friends faded out of my life. I am now writing a book- a major goal of mine. I have grown wiser, happier, healthier, more open minded, and I kept going even when I did not feel like I had the stamina. 22 has come and gone and I know I am a much better person because of it!
To celebrate here is a list of 22 things I learned to be thankful for, or reminded to be thankful for or lessons learned in my 22nd year of life:
1. A Water Bottle- drink more water
2. Don’t Give Up on People When Things Get Hard
3. Toxic Relationships Rarely Change
4. ZYN22 Cycling Studio- fitting? I think so!!
5. Kenzie Keeley and Kelly Simons- you finally made the blog!!
6. Adults who deal with the real world- my recently graduated / older friends
7. Therapists, Chaplains, and Councilors - s/o Todd Bowling
8. Solid, Dry, Land- RIP Senior Cruise
9. Asking God for the ability to swim in Grace
10. Matching shirt and short sets- I am telling you it is a movement
11. Taylor’s Reputation Album- unreal
12. Make spontaneous choices- you will be surprised
13. Mental Health is serious
14. My Mom’s Snapchats
15. My Dad’s enthusiasm
16. College / TCU in general- I recommend never leaving
17. Cardi B is a high key inspiration
18. Family members can also double as your best friend- ily auntie kiss
19. Reading books- seriously it has changed my life
20. Don’t be afraid to take care of yourself first- to an extent being selfish can save you
21. Wear whatever you want- it is the best way to express yourself
22. My worth comes from God
These are random but I assure you, the list goes on and on. To be honest, I am kind of sad to leave 22 because it has been such a life changing year for me. I think back to a year ago- when I looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person in the reflection- I am proud to say at the turn of another year, I do recognize the person in the mirror. I love him and I kind of want to give him a hug. That’s not weird, right? Here’s to being 23 and learning and growing in so many more ways. The future is so bright and I am not stressed, I am blessed!! Thank you all for the love. This year I am going after big goals- I hope you will continue to cheer me on. Much love and lots of gratitude to you.
Southern and Thankful
One kind of cool thing about me is that I have attended the same church my whole life. Minus, the years I was in college, I have always attended the First United Methodist Church here in Stuttgart. The community is and my church family is so loving, not to mention supportive, it blows me away. I feel so fortunate to have grown up in this church with these people who have in turn helped me grow.
This past Sunday my church family and I said goodbye to Brother David Bush and his family. Brother David has been with us for 9 years, which is the longest stay than any other pastor I can remember us having. He has been with us through many important life events like weddings, funerals, graduations, baptisms, confirmations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. He has cheered many of us on and been there for this church family 24/7 for the past 9 years. That is a large task. I could think of no one better for the job!
Brother David has one of the biggest hearts out of anyone I have ever seen. It truly is such a cool thing to see. I always loved coming home and going to church on Sundays because I knew Brother David was going to make me feel so welcome. Sometimes, even calling me out in front of the whole church. A lot of the time if he had an inkling I was going to be at church he would make sure and wear purple (go frogs) just for me! I loved going to church because you just knew you were going to leave with your heart a little warmer and smile a little brighter. Brother David is just contagious like that!
When I was graduating from high school, at our church we have a senior Sunday honoring those graduating where seniors have the opportunity to speak. I did a PowerPoint presentation mainly to keep me from getting emotional, but Brother David loved it. I called out and talked about my top 10 favorite things about the church. To this day Brother David still references the "seating chart" I informed the church we have every week. The seating chart will be changing a little with his family not in the crowd, but we are so excited for them and their next chapter in life.
It is evident that God places people in our life at the right time. Brother David is a shining example of that. We will miss you, Brother David. Thank you for all the memories, love, laughs, lessons, and moments you made us all feel closer to Christ. Your impact and footprint will forever be at Frist UMC Stuttgart. I, along with many others, are very thankful for that footprint!
Southern and Thankful
Do you know what today is?
I will give you a hint...balloons are necessary!
Yep, so you probably guessed it... todayis Southern and Thankful's 4th Birthday!!!
That means that 4 years ago on this day I came up with this insane idea to start a blog. Fast forward to today- 7 different t-shirt lines, over 1,000 shirts sold, hundreds of likes / comments (thank you thank you) 2 straight years of blogging EVERY SINGLE DAY, and tons of love- Southern and Thankful has had quite the impact on me and hopefully others. I pray for this brand often and each time I ask that God takes it and helps it to serve whatever purpose he believes best. That has always been my prayer and hope for Southern and Thankful. I have always given it to God, trusting that he will show me the route and direction it needs to go.
I cannot even begin to explain how grateful I am for the supporters, strangers, friends, and family who have been the biggest cheerleaders. All the likes, comments, shares, purchases, and overall thoughtfulness of others has overwhelmed me over the years. Thank you all SO much.
Normally, on this birthday I announce some new product or sale. This year, I am doing something a little different. Last week, Instagram released a new feature called "Instagram TV" where individuals can have a channel and upload videos. I have been comparing this to YouTube channels in my mind. I have never been big on seeing myself on camera or hearing myself talk, but a few people have encouraged me to try it, so I am giving it a go!! Again, I am new to all of this, but this channel will give me a fun space to talk about what I am thankful for somedays instead of writing it out... it sounds pretty neat to me!
Also, thank you to Mrs. Misti Coker for calling and singing Southern and Thankful Happy Birthday. Literally the voice of an angel. Not to mention it made my day!
To find the Instagram channel make sure your app is updated in the App Store and then click the orange button next to the blue inbox button. You should be able to find mine there, or go to my Instagram account and click the "IGTV " icon. YAY!
I hope you guys will head on over to my new Instagram channel, and mostly, I hope you guys will like it. Doing something new is always a little scary, but also fun! Here goes...hope you will “go” with me!
Lastly, you know my saying...there is always something to be thankful for and today, that is YOU! Thank you for celebrating Southern and Thankful with me for 4 years!
Southern and Thankful
Two words: spontaneous trip
I have been meaning to write about my most recent trip a few weekends back, and I here I am, finally finding the time to do so. After graduation, it was like BOOM suddenly things changed. Everyone seriously like woke up the next day and started making moves. I quickly decided I wanted to do the same. When all was said and done I found myself back at home, boxes with my things piled high to the ceiling in my room, eating lunch at the usual spot with my best friend since birth, Stephanie.
Funny thing… Stephanie and I both graduated from different universities with the same degree and both of us are currently unemployed. I like going places with her because when people hound you about what you are up to post-grad you don’t look as bad when there are two of you! So like I said, we were at lunch just catching up and what not. I randomly started talking about how I was seeing Taylor Swift (my favorite artist of all, as if you didn’t know) in the fall, but wanted to see her before then. I just couldn’t wait that long! Anyway, one thing led to another and the next day we had airfare, a hotel, and tickets to see Taylor Swift in Chicago a little over a week later. So spontaneous! We both kept kind of laughing at how quickly the thing came together. We kept saying, “I can’t believe we are doing this.”
We had a blast in Chicago. The weather was incredible- low 60’s. I had been once before and Stephanie had never been. We saw the famous bean, got the most delicious deep-dish pizza, shopped, got drinks at a rooftop bar, and mostly tried to make the most of our quick trip to the city.
Now, I am going to refrain from going on and on about the concert, BUT it was out of this world. If you have never seen Taylor Swift live… DO IT. Buy your tickets now. She is an entertainer like no other. I am so passionate about it. I just want everyone to experience what it’s like to be in the same room, with 52,000 other people, as she performs. We had great seats that were very close up. It started to rain and we got to dance in the rain with her. She said she hadn’t played a show in the rain in so long. You could tell she was genuinely excited to be there, in that moment with us. Stephanie and I, but mostly Stephanie, made signs and painted jean jackets. I honestly wish I could relive that night over and over again.
I am leaving out a lot of fun details like the waiter, Brittany, who we loved. And let's not forget the thunderstorm we had to talk home in after the concert with no rain jackets or umbrellas at all. RIP to our cool light up signs we made. I've never been so wet. What I really just want you to know is that I highly recommend taking a spontaneous trip as soon as you can. Stephanie and I have been the best of friends since I can remember. We have been fortunate to travel to other fun places together, but I will never forget the laughs and the memories we made on this trip. I love how it came to fruition as quickly as it did and how needed it was in both of our lives at this time.
Bottom line… do something spontaneous with the people you love. It’s not a treatment or medicine prescribed by the doctor, but it totally should be.
Southern and Thankful
Y’all…I am so saddened by the suicide of fashion icon, Kate Spade, earlier this week. Being a male, I do not know much about Kate Spade as a brand, but I know it has been very successful over the years and people love it. I think when most people saw this news their first reaction was,
“Kate Spade? No way!”
How could such a fabulous women with such success and fame be in such a dark place that she could take her own life? It is heartbreaking really. By the way, this is not the first time we have seen a case like this. Do you remember the sudden death of Robin Williams? I believe the important thing to take away from this is that mental health does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are. It does not matter how much or how little of something you have. Kate Spade “had it all” , but none of these things matter when you are sick. Kate was not selfish. Kate was not weak. Kate was not crazy. Kate was sick. I can understand that and I have seen it first-hand. I was again extremely sad to see that today, Anthony Bourdain, former CNN reporter committed suicide this morning. He was a wonderful storyteller and, like Kate, will be so missed. Mental Health matters and it comes without warning.
No one can really imagine the pain her family is going through, not to mention her precious 13-year old daughter, unless you have been in that tragic situation. Please join me in praying for her family, friends, the fashion community, and also for those around the world who may be struggling and after hearing this news, might tragically see it as an answer for them…which by the way, it absolutely is not… Suicide is talked about right now because a woman /man of celebrity was the victim of it, but the reality is it is happening every single day. This is a problem in our world and in my opinion, something that needs to be talked about more, not forgotten as the headlines fade. Mental health needs to be at the forefront of our conversations, and accepted for what it is… completely normal. Hug your loved ones extra tight today.
If you or someone you know is struggling please do not be afraid to reach out to your friends, your family, me, or the National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255
I know during some of my dark times, I didn't want to ask for help and I didn't want to call a hotline number. However, everyone is different. Do not be afraid to speak up and show love. I am grateful for each one of you.
Southern and Thankful
EXCITING NEWS FRIENDS!
I’ve been meaning to write a little something…sharing my news…but I have kind of been on the run the last week (by the way- sooooo fun…I can’t wait to talk more about my latest adventure, but first things first). Last week I was given the opportunity to start a summer internship with a great group of people at Campbell Ward in Little Rock, AR. They are a public relations and public affairs firm located in Little Rock right around the corner from the capitol building. They (I guess we now lol) do a lot of work with different agriculture groups and companies as well as some work in the political world. Here’s a little blurb about them:
“Campbell Ward is a bi-partisan, state and federal public affairs and public relations firm operating on a case by case approach that achieves optimal results for each specific client. Our firm provides widespread solutions to effectively address client concerns while identifying new ways to succeed and help create a comprehensive strategy.”
They provide services ranging from media relations to political action committee management as well as special events coordination/marketing to stakeholder mapping / public engagement. This is honestly super exciting to me! As you can imagine, I am soaking it all in. I started this past Tuesday and I am already learning so much, especially about agriculture in the state of Arkansas. Did you know that Arkansas is the number one rice producing state in the nation? That means this state produces more rice than any other state in the country. I have grown up around rice my whole life but never realized how important that statement really is. Super cool!
Take a look below at the fun socks they gave me on the first day. How cool are those??
I have been kind of laughing at myself because never did I think after graduation I would be working in Little Rock, Arkansas, talking about agriculture and/or politics in the office place. It is just a small reminder that God works in oddly, yet perfectly powerful ways. I am thrilled to be here this summer with these people that are so kind, fun, intelligent, and generous with their time and knowledge. It is also greatly comforting to feel like I am not wasting time, to have some small resemblance of a schedule, and to have a little bit of a purpose. I am also looking forward to where God is leading me. All I really have to do, and you too for that matter, is follow.
PS- Keep me in mind for further job opportunities as I will be looking for something more permeant as the summer ends AND if you are ever in Little Rock and want to grab lunch… HIT ME UP!
Southern and Thankful
"So what's next?"
"What are you doing now?"
"You got a job yet?"
These are a few examples of the questions I have been asked over and over again these past few months. I have been joking saying if I had a dollar for every time I have been asked these types of questions I wouldn't even need to get a job- lol. A lot of us recent graduates feel this way. Therefore, let me update you!
On May 12, 2018, I graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Strategic Communications and minors in Communication Studies and FTDM (film, tv, digital media). It was a wonderful weekend filled with family and friends. I am honestly so happy about how it turned out. The whole weekend was a weekend full of celebration, not sadness, which I appreciated.
Now to the all-important question...No, I do not have a job. I had a few job offers, but they didn't feel right. I, with encouragement from my parents, did not want to settle for something that I would have been miserable at. And through this experience, I have realized that I have a lot of passions. Therefore, I am not really sure what I want to do with my life. And again, with the support of my family, they've encouraged me to embrace the fact that I don't have to know at this exact moment. When I look back on this time, I know I will be grateful I took this time to rest, rejuvenate and discover what makes me fulfilled in a career path.
I came back to Arkansas right away because it was evident that things were a changing at "my" beloved TCU, and with my undergrad experience. The very first day of postgraduate status found me watching my roommates and friends packing up and moving on. We knew this day was coming. Thankfully I had started packing in the last few weeks and was able to wrap it up shortly after my family left as well. I was ready to close that chapter. Ya know, rip off the bandaid so to speak. Since being home, I have been resting and relaxing, reading, watching TV, applying for jobs, spending time with family and friends, as well as planning a few spontaneous trips. Again, just enjoying this time that I know I will never get back and because I know how quickly my life will change.
I have to give a M A J O R shoutout to my parents who have loved me so well and supported me through this whole thing. I realize not everyone has the luxury to take a little time before starting a job and a whole new way of life. My parents. They have been wildly supportive and crazy encouraging. They have been right there with me, helping me to discover what it is I want to do. They truly want me to not only be successful but fulfilled. Gosh, I don't deserve them. Thank you, Mom and Dad...I cannot truly convey how appreciative I am! I hope to make you very proud.
I have also been working on some exciting personal projects that I can't wait to share. One of them is to get back to that daily blogging life that is so important to me. I fell out of my schedule when I realized I was putting a ton of pressure on myself to make every post powerful and life-changing. I also realized that I wanted to be "present" in my last few years at TCU. But, now is the perfect time to start again, and I am really going to be taking some time to stop and appreciate the smaller things in life - and, I will gladly be sharing with you along the way!
I have always felt like God has this grand plan for me. To really make a difference and make an impact on the world. To really be someone. I still feel that so strongly. I am not quite sure what path I will be lead down to get there but know that GOD does. God and I have been talking a lot these days, and I trust completely that He will use me, and equip me, to become whatever it is that I am to be... Now That Is Exciting!
Southern and Thankful
I have been sitting here for a good 20 minutes typing and re-typing trying to figure out how to start a post about my sweet friend, Taylor Helland, who passed away two years ago today. There really is no easier way to say that someone has passed away, is there? It sounds so harsh because there are so many mixed emotions behind that. Everyone misses her a TON, but at the same time, we know she is pain-free and happier than ever which is much more important.
Throughout 2017, I thought of my friend Taylor a lot because of her mantra- "Choose Joy". One day I sat down...I was having a hard day, and I decided to write a little in my journal about my friend, who even in the afterlife continues to inspire me. I wrote a little poem. I do like to write poems, so that isn't unusual, but since this particular one was about Taylor, I figured today was a wonderful day to share it with others. It isn't perfect, but it's from my heart and it makes me smile. Here it is:
I walked in the room, not knowing a soul
Scared and Unsure of what the future would hold
The girl was sunny blond hair & the brightest smile
Turned out to be a true friend who would stay a while
Taylor was brave and she was strong
She did not complain nor miss a beat
She always kept others on their feet
Taylor battled cancer long & hard
Her attitude and spirit was always a glow
“Choose Joy” she made sure everyone would know
It was her motto, her armor, her greatest defense
It has helped me more than I can ever admit
Choose Joy has impacted many far and wide
Especially the Horned Frogs whom cheered alongside
I miss Taylor
I thank Taylor
I often look up and talk to Taylor
She was my friend & most certainly my peer
She is someone I will forever hold dear
I Choose Joy today
I Choose Joy tomorrow
I Choose Joy to avoid feeling too much sorrow
Here’s to that girl flying around
No doubt as a butterfly high off the ground
You taught me a lesson important to all
“CHOOSE JOY “Taylor would say, no matter how often you fall.
Taylor was a wonderful friend to me and today I choose to remember the good times, like struggling to the point of extreme laughter in elementary statics. This week at TCU is coined "Taylor Week" in preparation for the annual Dance Marathon Event that benefits the local hospital, where Taylor was treated. Taylor was super involved in Dance Marathon and helping others, whom she could so easily identify with. Last year, while at Dance Marathon, I broke my scapula (LOL yeah TBT to that). This year I have been involved as a member of the PR committee for Dance Marathon. Even though it wasn't my favorite memory from last year (hence the broken bone and all), I still wanted to be involved in the organization because I know Taylor would have loved that! Because of Taylor, Dance Marathon is something so close to so many of us. I would love it, and appreciate so much if you would donate to my fund at this link:
I have been behind this year on my personal fundraising but would LOVE even the smallest amount you could give to this cause. I promise to do my best not to break any bones this year!!
Taylor is someone that will never be forgotten. She has made such an impact here on campus and much further. I see people every day in the "Choose Joy" shirts that were created in her memory. Today, many of us remember her and celebrate her goodness. If you want to learn more about Taylor, or hear her story, here is my post from last year:
Choosing joy is just that...a choice. I often have to remind myself that if my friend, who fought cancer fiercely, can do it, then so can I. I am thankful for my friend. I miss my friend. I love my friend and I am forever grateful she was placed in my life at such an important time.
Thank you, Taylor.
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!