Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fifteen in '15

2015 started out with a bang! This year has been full of surprises and many great, happy memories. Of course, we've had plenty of sad times but the great times override those by far.

I'm so thankful for another year to do my yearly recap post and I'm teary eyed going through social media to find my favorite memories of the year! Let's do this...

Sweet Memories: 

January


The first memories '15 are of my 26th birthday! I had dinner with the best and ate some of this wonderful cake! It was a sweet birthday and surprises from my babies at school to my family were so appreciated! #gettingold

February 


McCarty sale with Aunt Melba and Caitlyn was quite the adventure.. again! I swore it would be my last year but we shall see. It was SO cold and rainy on Sunday for the sale. IF I go this year, I'm hoping for a better experience. 


Then.. we had Snowpocalypse of 2015. It was the most amazing break from life ever! Stuck at home for most of the three days and just enjoying the warmth of my house. Caitlyn was snowed in with me and we didn't kill each other, so it was a fun time! 

March


Landon's Bachelorette party in Oxford was so much fun! All the girls hung out, ate lots of great food and watched Cinderella at the theatre. Sweet girl had a great weekend and I met some new friends! 

 April


My sweet Bellevue Church family drove the church bus to Oxford and gave me a housewarming. It was so much fun and I was truly grateful for all of the work that they put into it. You couldn't ask for sweeter people to grow up with and the support they show is outstanding! 

May


May 2015, I graduated with my Masters in Education from Ole Miss! I am so thankful that this chapter of my life is over... no more school for a while! 

June


Beach trip was a blast as usual. We had the cutest cabana boy and made lots of memories! We met up with family that had came later for dinner one night at LuLus. These trips are the best! 

July

This group of people have turned in to my new church family. This summer, I had no idea just how important this group would be for me. I love Pinelake Oxford and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store. 


        Merle and I had a great day      on the lake!      




August


August was fun preparing for Football season in the south. One of my sweet parents from last year texted me and told me that she saw me on SEC preview. How funny is this! ;) 
#i'llsignautographs

Also, I began my 5th year of teaching! 

September


Mom turned 90 this month and we had a big birthday party for her at her church. This picture sums up the grandchildren's relationship. We were fighting over who is her favorite! Of course, she would never saw but we know the truth. :)

October


I had some fun house guest this month for the Texas A&M game. Emily and Josh came from D.C. to visit Oxford. We ate lots of wonderful food and had lots of fun! Come back soon, friends! 

November

And we did.. Another egg bowl victory! 


December


I had a great christmas with my family! 


2016 has a lot to live up to! I know I say that every year but I feel that I am so blessed to be able to make so many memories each and every year. There are so many opportunities to "find your happy" in life and I can't wait to see what all I have left to find. 

My family, friends, job, house, town, etc. are all very special to me and I love being able to look back each year and see the fun times that I've had. 

2016, let's go...




Sunday, November 8, 2015

Claimed //Orphan Sunday


(photo cred: Pinelake)

November 8// Orphan Sunday

Y'all.. I felt that this was a great way to get back into blogging. Today at Pinelake Oxford, we celebrated all of the Orphan children that have been given forever homes and those that are still waiting for that precious day. 153 Million Orphans are waiting to be claimed. 

I have always had a special place in my heart for adoption in thinking that it was a GREAT thing for couples to do, especially when they couldn't have children of their own. I knew that wasn't the only time that couples adopted but I felt that was the majority of the reason why. 

Today was awesome in seeing that MANY couples already have their own children and have prayed that God would complete their families. Man.. what an awesome opportunity. Our pastor at Pinelake Oxford, Jody and his family, adopted a precious girl from Ethiopia that I get the pleasure of keeping in Sunday School on Sunday mornings. This girl has the biggest smile on her face and I can tell that God had a magical plan for her life even before she was born. 

Adoption is life-changing for the orphan and for the family that is willing to bring in someone of often another race, culture, etc and God puts it all together for his glory. Wow! What a destiny!

I'm not sure what adoption will look like for me in the future but I know that it's something that we all can play a part in. Praying for, supporting and adopting these children into homes that will grow them in Jesus sure makes a lot of since to me!

Today a sweet lady came up to me with tears in her eyes, and being a Kindergarten teacher herself says, " We know about adoption and these kids, we see it everyday." 

So for now, being a teacher and "adopting" these kiddos into my life and heart is my purpose during this season of my life. 

One of my favorite adoption stories that I found a couple of years ago. 



God is such a good father to the fatherless! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

It's time for an iPhone dump


Hey friends! I feel like it's time to jump back into blogging slowly by surely. I've been saying that when I get a new layout and look that it will motivate me to type my life out again! I've got to get on that but why wait until that time?

So, here we go. This may be long so hold on to your socks!


1.) Today was our first Ole Miss game (76-3, we'll take it!)-- 2.) Ms. Patton's Class is ready for our season. This craft makes me happy, happy, happy!-- 3.) A Friday doctor visit was not in my plans but luckily that shot is helping me feel better!-- 4.) My Goodwill game has been on it lately! I found that cute print and those bowls for about $8 total the other afternoon!--5.) First time my hair has been highlighted in months.. it's like a breath of fresh air! 6.) Celebrated a YEAR in my sweet house! I love my little place that I call home! --7.) Diet Coke is a teacher's best friend.-- 8.) It's always fun when teachers match at school.--9.) Love the small town Board of Supervisor's panel room.



August was busy with family time, school starting back and getting into a routine again. 


Lauren Ann got married and it was a fairy tale wedding! I just love when the bride and groom's personalities shine through on their big day!


I was asked to be a judge for Pontotoc's Rebel/Bulldog Tailgate on the Square. It was such a fun evening of eating LOTS of food and sharing the memories with friends. Thank goodness that the Rebels pulled out the victory with the competition and I hope our season follows suit.


I have a MILLION other pictures that I could share but for now I think that is all. 

Can't wait to dig back into blogging. See y'all soon! 



Friday, July 10, 2015

Confessional Friday


 Happy Friday friends! I'm so glad it's Friday but that just means that we are one Friday closer to school starting! I know I shouldn't complain but....

I confess:

I thought I was having a heart attack this morning. I know it's nothing to play with but my chest was hurting and I felt weird. Hoping that feeling NEVER happens again. No worries, I'll be checking things out if they don't get better.

I'm loving my new MacBook. In College, I never went the Mac route but I am so thankful that I did this time. I figure my 2007 DELL will quit soon so I went ahead and bit the bullet. I'm no where near used to it but I love what all it can do!


I need a new blog design/layout PRONTO: I've got to get this done but I honestly don't know where to start. I know lots of ladies that are willing but I just don't know how to even start! I am looking for inspiration in Blog land so hopefully it'll happen soon!

Im just happy to get two blogs out this week: This summer has been a slow go with blogging and many other things. I'm working on getting my life (as interesting as it is, ha!) back out to you! Just be patient...


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gulf Shores 2015

I just LOVE the beach! 

Going to the beach each year is one of our favorite things to do! It's all girls and all fun! We hang out, relax and enjoy all the delicious food that the Gulf Coast brings!


This year was so fun because it was the first year in a while that I haven't had the worry of grad school work hanging over my head! 

The weather was PERFECT this year and we had a blast! We beached, we shopped, we ate, and we conquered Gulf Shores! Already planning for next year...

Caitlyn met us around the middle of the week and it was fun having someone there my own age. One of the last nights we were there, we ventured out to FloraBama. I give it a 6 out of 10 because the night that we were there, we were the youngest people by far. I'm sure it we had went during the weekend it would have been different but it wasn't what it's hyped up to be! 

I'm glad we experienced it though and got to see what it's all about. 

What are some of your favorite places and things to see/eat/or do when you are in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area? Please share!

See you next year, Beach! 



Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Circles.



How true is this? 

I have seen that throughout my life, my friends have changed depending on which season of life I was currently in. This has been an amazing transition because now I truly feel that I have some of the best friends in the entire world!

Before you are born, friends:
     Yes, our families were friends even before we were born. Michelle has been that girl that has memories of our childhood birthday parties, almost dying in a Tornado stories, and we always catch up right where we left off. Even though our lives have taken us to different cities and jobs, we still keep in touch. Our families still go to church together and we are practically family. Love you, Shell!

High School Friends:
     These ladies are just a FEW of the sweet friends from my high school days. North Pontotoc High School was a wonderful place for me to grow up and learn how to have friends but most of all, how to be a friend. Most of my classmates went through our 13 years of "schooling" together and I'm forever thankful for that. We had a few come and go and that just made our 2007 graduating class so awesome. I'm proud of the accomplishments that all of these ladies have accomplished and I honestly CAN'T WAIT for our 10 year reunion. (We missed our 5 year, oops!)



Junior College Friends:
     The good ole' ICC days were the best! I will remember the fun I had for my entire lifetime. I took a million pictures and I have about that many memories. College was a great time in my life because I got to love on people and share the joy that I had with them. I was involved in the Baptist Student Union and it literally became my apartment. I lived there more than in my dorm and those memories are always the best! Amy Simmons was a huge blessing in my life during these two years! We ended up rooming together in the next chapter of our lives and I'm thankful that our paths crossed. These are just a few of the friends that I met at ICC and I'm thankful to have met my sweet, Claire Mattox who passed away last Summer. Her laughter and contagious love of life will always be in my heart. 
              

Ole Miss Friends:
     These two above, Emily and Haley, were my biggest two blessings at Ole Miss. Haley and I grew up in the same small town and became friends while at Ole Miss. Doesn't God have a sense of humor? LOVE it! Emily is from Brandon, Mississippi and it was awesome rooming with these ladies. I've stood by both of their sides as they walked down the isle and I can't wait for them to do the same for me one day! :) Ole Miss friends are the best friends! I made so many new friends and I'm so glad we still keep in touch. 
Sweet Landon was another blessing that I met through Emily at Ole Miss. She has been a blessing through Ole Miss Sporting Events, Emily's wedding and moving to D.C. and just being her sweet self. I'm coming to Nashville soon, Landon!


Southaven Friends:
     Once again, not everyone is pictured but so many of these people had a part of my story. I followed my dream of teaching to Horn Lake, Mississippi and lived in Southaven for three years. I loved it but knew that I wouldn't be there forever. 1,3, and 6 are all pictures of sweet Teacher friends who I shared life with each day at school. They all mean more to me than they know. Picture 2 is Jenny and Cory who were my parents away from home. Love these two! They took me in and loved on me along with their sweet baby, Maddie! Forever thankful! Leslie and Jenna (4&5) were my teacher/speech pathologist friends who I ate dinner with at least once a week! Loved their inspiration and their encouragement. God had a plan for Southaven and I'm so grateful that I got to share it with these treasures! There were so many others that I wouldn't have made it without.. (Marla.. I couldn't find our picture! :(

Oxford Friends:
     This season has been extra sweet! Moving back was one of the easiest things I had ever done. I knew that being closer to "home" and just being back in Oxford would be the best and it has been. Making new friends and getting started in my new norm has been a blast with these friends! I can't wait to add to this and see what new memories 2015 brings! 


This girl has been there through it all. Since meeting in Middle School, we've been tight! (Did I just use that word, really?) She's the best (literally) and has my back no matter what. Thankful for her!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#MastersDONE

This post has been a long time coming and I am so glad to finally be able to put this out there. It has not been an easy or fun but it is DONE!



January 2013, I started taking classes at night in pursuit of my Master's Degree. People had always encouraged me to go back but I wanted to wait until I knew that the time was right. I received some scholarships and had close to two years of teaching under my belt so I felt like I could do it! Well, it was easy at first and I couldn't have been more thankful. 




I knew that I needed to go back while I was single and had nothing holding me back and I will forever be grateful for that decision. So, I took one/two classes each semester + at least one class each Summer Session until I was SICK of school. It really wasn't "horrible" but I was tired of school and was wanting to be done with it all!


ENTER: (last semester) After moving home from Southaven, buying my new house, and starting my 4th year of teaching at a new school, I was BEYOND ready to be done with Grad School. I took a semester off because I wanted to get my house in order and not have to worry about anything else. I won't regret that decision EVER, but it did make my spring semester VERY difficult. I signed up for two classes in the Spring and that would allow me to take my Comprehensive Exam and graduate in May! And.. I had to ride the OUT (Oxford/University Transit) bus to class because of the decal that I purchased from Ole Miss. To say the least, I wasn't excited but I quickly realized what a blessing that bus was. 



While teaching my sweet Kinders, I quickly realized how hard taking two night classes was going to interfere with my everyday life. I was VERY stressed, and quickly became a worse procrastinator that I originally had been. I found myself working on grad school assignments during planning periods at school. It was not a pretty time. 



So, April came along and in the middle of projects, tests and all that jazz, it was time for Comps to be completed and turned in. I had a week to go over the questions(3) and type my knowledge that had been obtained in three years. Want to talk about intimidated? That is exactly what I was....  I turned them in on a Thursday and waited and waited for the results. 

Now, let me remind you that if you don't pass comps, you don't graduate. But, they give you two chances to complete the test. Finally, on a Friday afternoon around 3:00, I was standing in the hallway at school and I got the email:

FAILED 

Y'all, I've never felt this way in my entire life! I am a VERY positive person and I fully believe that everything happens for a reason. But, in this moment, I was defeated, I doubted myself and I was very disappointed. I texted my Mom and my Best because I couldn't face calling anyone just yet. They both encouraged and told me that everything would be okay. Deep down I knew this but I honestly wasn't so sure.

Over the next couple of weeks, I emailed professors, asked advice and honestly WORRIED MYSELF TO DEATH about something that I had no control over. I was embarrassed but most of all, I was concerned about what would happen "if". I quickly learned that the "if" in our lives is what is so hard. I prayed more than I have in years, I cried, and I worried more than I have in years! 

Thankfully, I have an awesome support group of friends and family that prayed me through. I turned my second round of comps in and prayed for the best! The week of Finals, stressed as I was, one of our professors wanted to treat us to South Depot on the square for our last night of class. After presenting our projects, my phone buzzed and I realized that the email was from Ole Miss. Talk about sick.. I could have thrown up just thinking about it. I waited until we had left and opened the email:

Passed

I prayed, I cried, I worshiped and then I made my phone calls! Everyone was so excited and I was relieved! Even though, I knew it would work out the way it was supposed to, I wanted it to work out in my favor and it did! God is so good!

I had plenty of time to contemplate the WHY of the situation. I truly believe that I needed to be humbled in the activities of my life. I had put so many things ahead of God and he wanted to rope me back in and say, "Lauren, come back! You can't do this all on your own. You have to follow my lead." Goodness, I'm thankful for a God that loves me enough to show me when I need to STOP and listen to him!


That weekend, I walked across the Tad Pad stage, and received my Masters Degree! So thankful for "My Master" who led me each step of the way. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! 


I have been praying for God to allow me to find joy in the journey. Whatever season of life you are in, whether that be on the mountain top or in the trenches, I hope you are finding peace in walking the path God has laid out for you. Not all the moments are joyful, but I think we should seek beauty in the mundane and express gratitude in the difficult. The journey is not always easy, but it definitely is worth it. Keep pushing on all you beautiful warriors of Christ! - Kuntzr

Monday, March 9, 2015

Does that make me crazy?


For the 5th year, I went to Merigold for the McCarty sale. I still haven't decided if this was my last year or not but I was not satisfied with the sale this year. Let me start off negative and end positive.. okay? Stay with me...

We were numbers 89-91 in line of probably close to 300 people and we did not get into the sale until 6:30 Sunday night. Now mind you, we had been in line since Saturday at 12:00 noon! I was not a happy camper but just KNEW that we would get our prized possessions and be out in record time. NOPE, didn't happen! Then, our finds were mediocre but it was a fun weekend and now I'll share the positive. 


1.} We drove down on Saturday morning and spent the afternoon talking and catching up from the back of our car. 2.} Aunt Melba and I were pumped and ready! This was Caitlyn and Aunt Melba's first experience so they were really excited to see what McCarty sale was all about. 3.} All these cars are full of women who had slept in their cars all night and were cold before lining up for the sale. Oh, and it was raining! 4.} Sitting in line waiting for role call and praying for food. (We were starving at this point.) 5.} My precious Daddy, had the idea of taking their hunting blind and it was the best idea he has ever had. It saved the day! 6.} But.. taking that said hunting blind down was a different story. It wouldn't fold correctly and was the pits but we somehow made it home without the thing tearing up. 7.} And the line begins... We were all getting excited for 1:00! 8.}  We were at the door about to go in! Aunt Melba and I got many questions about our outfits. We know where our loyalties are we are okay with that! ;) 9.} When I finally got home at midnight, this is what I had purchased. 

As I've said on several social media outlets, I was very disappointed but I did get some pieces that I didn't have! McCarty is such a fun weekend for me but I have collected so much that it may not be worth it for me to go anymore. We shall see what next year holds! 

I'm so glad that I got to spend a fun, EXHAUSTING weekend with my family and friends! Everyone needs to try this at least once!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

This is MY town!// Oxford, Mississippi



where do you live?

Oxford, Ms/ 38655



where is your favorite place to be in your city?

I think that is a no brainer! Anything Ole Miss related is where I want to be.. Baseball, basketball, FOOTBALL, anything that includes supporting my Rebs! But, I also enjoy eating anywhere but at home so the next question shall answer that. :)

what is the best restaurant in your city?

I would have to say that Ajax on the Square is my pick for the best restaurant. I have so many that I visit often but this one says home cooking while looking out the window on our busy, vibrant Square. Next time you are in town, you better call me to be your dinner date! 


what is the best coffee shop in your city?

High Point Coffee and Cups are a tie in my book. High Point has been the local favorite longer but I fell in love with Cups in Jackson and when Oxford got one, it became the best thing ever. I would choose either one when a cup of coffee is what your heart desires. 

what is the best “first date” location in your city?

Honestly, let me tell you one of my perfect date ideas. (future love: pay attention) I think a nice dinner at Old Venice, followed by yogurt at YaYas and then a drive or walk around campus would be fabulous. Just being able to experience what all this college town has to offer is enough! 

what is the best place to eat breakfast in your city?

Bottle Tree Bakery (find this place on Facebook)... I am about to admit a crime! I have NEVER eaten at this restaurant and that's a crying shame. It is on my 2015 bucket list that I just decided that I need to make! Who wants to be my date for this event? 
what is your favorite thing about your city?

My favorite thing would have to be the feeling in my heart when I drive back in to my town! I am SO thankful and blessed to be back in Oxford and I don't take that for granted. I SO adored my three years living in Southaven but I am SO glad to be back home! God is so good!
I love living in a college town and being 5 minutes from Heaven on Earth aka {Ole Miss}.  
Oxford is a great place to call home!