Monday, October 8, 2012

Now let's pretend it is Saturday :)

As stated on Friday's post, I have been blessed with some pretty amazing people in my life.  One of my absolute favorite traditions that I have established with some of those people is our annual Girls Weekend!  A group of college friends made the commitment several years ago that our friendships were pretty important and annually we gather for  a weekend getaway to catch up on life, share our hearts, eat some pretty delicious food, laugh til we cry, cry til me laugh and most of all encourage each other.

One of my favorite things we do is take turns hosting the weekend.  Meaning, 2 girls out of the group will take the leadership role in planning the events, special treats, meals and all the other really important details of the weekend.  And my friends, well they go all out!  From decorations, to gifts on our pillows, to treat bags for the ride home complete with our favorite snacks.  These little details are the things that make us all feel so special.

These friendships are sweet indeed.  These are the relationships that I treasure, that I am so thankful for.  No matter how long we go between phone calls, emails, texts or visits, these are the kinds of friendships where we can just pick up where we left off.  We  have seen each other through celebrations, grief, confusion, happiness, you name it we have experienced it.  But isn't that what makes life sweet?  What makes us wanna come back year after year...

These are the memories that we hold dear to our hearts.  The memories that encourage us even when the distance is great.

These are the friendships that were started in middle school yearbook class and have continued through the grown up years.  These are the people you call family, who you treasure.

These are the people who know us inside and out and love us anyway.  So grateful!

These are the people whose hearts encourage me to be more loving, whose smiles encourage me to be more kind, whose faith encourage me to be stronger. 

Already counting down the days til our next gathering...

Day 5

Pretend it is Friday :)

I have been blessed with some really great friends and family.  These are not just your ordinary friends and family, I am talking the best.  Seriously the best!  So on Friday's during this journey, I will highlight  one (or two or three) of my friends or family members who have been an encouragement to me!  It is high time the blog world (or all 2 of you who read my blog) heard just how great these guys are!

Today it is this little lady...

Friends, meet my Mamaw.  Isn't she the cutest thing you have ever seen?  I love this woman.  I admire her strength, her motivation, her giving spirit and and her sassy personality.  She has modeled for me what it means to work hard and never give up, even when things get hard.  Her selfless spirit has encouraged me to care about people even when they aren't easy to care for and to value those we love above all.  As my grandfather's health started to decline, I was amazed at how much my grandmother sacrificed to care for him.  I know that I am a better woman, because of how she has poured into my life and set an example of love and grace for me.  She makes me laugh, she makes me smile, and yes sometimes she kinda makes me want to scream, but even in those moments, I know that she is only doing things out of love for me!  I am so very thankful for all the ways she has poured into my life and encouraged me to follow my dreams, whether that be to become a teacher or fly halfway around the world to love on babies in Africa.  Mamaw, I know that I don't say it enough, and I don't even know if you will see this, but thank you!  Thank you for loving me!  I sure do love you!

Who has encouraged you friends?

Be encouraged!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 4...a little late :)

Just for these next few minutes, pretend it is Thursday!  :)

On each Thursday of this month of blogging, I am going to post an encouraging playlist!  Sometimes it might be music that encourages my relationship with the Lord, sometimes it might be a playlist that just encourages me to sing (scary, I know), sometimes it might just be a playlist that encourages me to be happy.  Music is really good for my soul, really good for my soul.  So maybe during these posts of playlists, you will find some tunes that bring a little lift to your soul too!

Songs that ENCOURAGE me to SMILE:
DISCLAIMER:  My music taste is very eclectic, please do not be offended by any of the songs that are posted and remember these are songs that make me smile, they might make you not smile.  Either way, I hope you enjoy! 

1.  Bella's Finals Mash-up (Pitch Perfect Soundtrack)
Yeah, if you haven't seen this movie, drop what you are doing and go...NOW!  So good, great songs and this one just makes me smile!

2. Beautiful Day (U2)
Every morning when my alarm goes off, this is the song that plays.  While I might not be smiling at 5:30 in the morning when I first hear this song, most times I do!

3.  Always Be My Baby (David Cook, American Idol)
Seriously love this song...and while Mariah Carey did an excellent job with it, David Cook makes me smile!  Great rendition, great voice, great song!

4.  I Will Wait (Mumford and Sons)
You might be surprised that this whole playlist is not Mumford and Sons songs, and really it probably could be. Everything about this group makes me smile from the fact that they are British to the face that they put on an awesome live show!  This song is super catchy and certainly brings a smile to my face!

5.  How Far We've Come (Dawes)
First heard this band when they played a festival with Mumford!  I really just love the easy sound of this song!

6.  Ant's Marching (Dave Matthews Band)
Oh, Dave.  You make me smile for many reasons but this song always make me grin and brings back some pretty fun memories.

7.  Blow Me (One Last Kiss)  (Pink)
I am in love with this song...not really sure why.  I love Pink.  I think we would be fast friends.  Her name is my favorite color after all, but after a long day of school, I get really giddy when this song comes on the shuffle!

8.  Crazyboutya (Dave Barnes)
When I think about Dave Barnes, I can't not smile.  He is hilarious ya'll!  If you have not seen him in concert, you should fix that now!  And this song, well...I will let it speak for itself!  Listen to it and then tell me you aren't smiling!  I dare you!

9.  You're the Inspiration (Chicago)
I smile when I hear this song, because I have this vivid memory of belting this song out with my little brother. Not sure why this one was the the song we chose at the time, but it is a precious memory I treasure for sure!

10.  Crazy in Love (Beyonce)
College days, Nina's wedding, made up dance moves.  Yep, this is a good one for sure!

11.  Will You Return (The Avett Brothers)
I could make a playlist of Avett songs that make me smile but I will let this one represent the band that I love so much!  Love the sound, love the feel, love these guys!

12.  Hanginaround (Counting Crows)
I started listening to Counting Crows in high school.  Everything about them makes me smile.

13.  Your Smiling Face (James Taylor)
This song makes me think of so many people and experiences.  The countless James Taylor concerts, sitting in the rain, singing with my momma, so many memories!

14.  You Got It (The Right Stuff) (NKOTB)
NKOTB...enough said!  I wish I could tell you all the happy memories this song brings up!  First concerts, concerts at 30, first loves, elementary school...oh man, smiles galore!

15.  Party in the USA (Miley Cyrus)
She mentions a dream and cardigan in this song, how can you not smile!

16.  Yellow (Coldplay)
Everything about Coldplay makes me smile as well, but this song especially.

17.  If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow)
And this little ditty...reminds me of my daddy!  He used to sing this song to the top of his lungs!  Seriously, top of his lungs.  Everytime I hear it, I picture him and well, that is good stuff!

This is just a sample, so many more songs that make me smile and this playlist could change everyday!  But here is just a little sampling!

So check them out and be encouraged...maybe one or two of these tunes will bring a smile to your face too!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 days of Encouragement Day 3...a day late

Well, my internet at home has been out for a while and yesterday I did not have time to post from work, so forgive the lack of posting yesterday!

Yesterday started off in a crazy and frantic way.  I woke up late...not a new thing.  I rushed around the house to get ready to leave for work, wasn't able to fully dry my hair and had to skip my Starbucks stop.  It was just one of those mornings when I felt like I had already started the day 10 steps behind.   When I got to work, I remembered that the principal was not there and that would mean a bit of extra work for me.  I kinda felt defeated before the day even started.

I had been working in my office and needed to go visit a classroom when I passed a group of students in the hallway.  I greeted them quickly, focused on where I was going, when I heard a sweet voice say..."Ms. Simpson, you look very pretty today."  I paused, looked in those precious eyes, and just smiled.  What sweet encouragement from the most innocent of voices.  I didn't question whether or not she was sincere, as I probably would have if it had come from one of my peers.  I didn't immediately try to come up with some kind of excuse as to why I did not look pretty.  I just took her compliment and held it close to my heart all day!

We forget how a compliment, a sincere compliment can encourage and bring joy to someone's day.  How a simple gesture that comes from the heart can make us walk a little taller, feel a little prouder, and bring a smile to our faces.  How can you do that for someone today?

Be encouraged friends...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

When someone else's words provide encouragement...

I have always loved words.  As a teacher, I joke with my kiddos that the reason I became a teacher is so that I could talk as much as I wanted and people would have to listen.  My nickname growing up...babbling Brooke. I just love words.  Sometimes I like to keep words to myself, other times I am quick to use my words without thinking.  I am working on that 2nd one!

I love other people's words.  There is no question that I think most people out there are smarter than me, so I love to hear other people's ideas on life, faith, love, really anything!

As a single gal, sometimes the words I hear in my head and heart can get twisted.  Those words I hear that tell me I am not enough.  I will never be enough.  That I will always be alone.  No one wants me.  That I will always be waiting for something more.  And while I know those words are not true, that I am not in a waiting or holding pattern, sometimes I can get stuck in that place.  Anyone else relate?

I don't want to wait.  I want to live now!  I want these years, these days to be full of joy, happiness, sorrow and growth.  I don't want to just be sitting around waiting or striving to be something that I know I can't possibly be.

Maybe you are in this same boat.  Waiting....maybe it is time to stop the waiting and to live!

So today it is someone else's thoughts from their blog which brought me encouragement and challenged my view of waiting! Hopefully they will provide some encouragement for you today....

Be encouraged, dear friends!  Get out there and LIVE!

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 days of Encouragment about a blog vacation.  Do you ever go through those spells where you just don't feel like what you have to say would be anything anyone else would want to hear?  Well, it has been that year for this girl.  And if you look back at my blog, you will notice that I tried to get back into the habit this time of year last year.  What makes this year different you ask?  Well, I have decided to be a bit more gracious with myself.  Hoping that will free me up to be able to share honestly and openly on this blog.  Because that is my heart. ease back into the blogging world, I am going to link up with The Nester's 31 day challenge.  And to be even more gracious to myself, I am going to blog 31 days of encouragement.  This might be someone else's encouraging words, a way to encourage others, a way someone has encouraged me...who knows really.  But it is my hope and prayer that I can stick with it for these 31 days and beyond...

Today I will share some words that encouraged me...hope they bring some encouragement to your heart on this first day of October!

Be encouraged friends...and leave some love or encouragement if you stop by!

Blogging tips