Monday, February 28, 2011

reality check.

Now pray. Pray for healing. Pray for comfort. Pray for change. Pray for forgiveness. Pray for support. Pray for rest. Pray for dependence on the only One brings all of these things. Beg and plead.

I heard about this tragedy on Saturday morning, and my heart is still shattered in a million pieces at this very moment. For so many reasons, really, but mostly because it reminds me just how much evil there is in the world. Pure, heartless evil. I just can't wrap my mind around how things like this happen.

I live in my safe little house in my safe little town with my safe little family. I worship my Jesus regardless of where I am or the circumstances I'm in, but can I honestly say that I'm persecuted. Sure, I'm mocked and most people usually don't understand the things I do, but the word "persecution" is definitely not what comes to mind. Being ridiculed for the sake of Jesus is not the same as being murdered because you carry his name. That's pretty tough for me to swallow. Really, really tough.

The devil is on the move. Constantly. And he's smart, too. We underestimate the influence he has on this earth. But the truth is that he IS real and he is WAY more powerful than we are on our own. He rules over our world, and he rules over most of our hearts. There is only one person stopping him from completely ruining everything this world has to offer, and that person is the son of the Almighty God who created it.

People are suffering all over the world. Dying. Agonizing. And I'm, what? Being teased for smiling so much? And never getting drunk? And being a virgin on my wedding night?

That almost sound silly, doesn't it? Absolutely.

I believe with all my heart that all of those things are important, but when do I take it to the next level? Will I ever?

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"
Matthew 16:24-26

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

we need each other.

"It's about seeing who a person really is and calling him out to be that person."

"We birth life in others by inviting them into deeper realms of healing, to deeper walks with God, to deeper intimacy with Jesus."

"It is a great gift to know that you see as another sees, an immense pleasure to be understood, to enjoy the easy companionship of one you can let your guard down with."

"When God gives a friend, he is entrusting us with the care of another's heart. It is a chance to mother and to sister, to be a Life giver, to help someone else become the woman she was created to be, to walk alongside her and call her deep heart forth."

"Honest communication in love is the only way to live and grow in friendships."

"You can only have one, two, maybe three intimate friends in your life at any given time. That's just the way of the heart. There is room for more dear friends, but they are a little further out, in the next circle, like Jesus' twelve. Close, but not the ones you would call in need in the middle of the night. And then there are your acquaintances, loose friendships, as Jesus had in the other disciples. It is natural and good to have circles of friendship. Friends will move from one circle to the other, but you can't possibly sustain intimacy with everyone. That said, you also don't want to have intimacy with none. Jesus desires it with us, and he understands that we need it with others as well. He made us that way."

That's just a little taste of all the richness we read in the most recent chapter of Captivating. My favorites. The ones I highlighted/underlined/circled just so I wouldn't miss the importance in each of them.

I am thankful for my friends. Every single one of them. Without friends, I'd absolutely, positively be crazy by now. I think it's pretty fun to look back on all the friends I've had over the years. Some of which I'm still friends with today. Others only lasted for a season in my life, but they still made marks on my heart that I'll never forget.

Don't forget to be thankful for your friends. Especially your very best ones. There's nothing like them in this whole world. It would be a tragedy for us to believe they were any less than that.

You need them and they need you and it's beautiful.

Believe it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

look, ma! I'm a real teacher!

I've been working at City Kids Child Development Center for about four and a half months now as a K-4 "teacher's aide," as they call it. For those of you who know anything about me, this job has been the hardest one I've ever had for many, many reasons. I've really struggled with being content where I am, and it wasn't until about a month ago that I truly gave over all my crazy emotions/feelings/discontent with it over to the Lord.

Then, last week, they called me into the office. Honestly, my first thought was "what have I done to a kid now?" because I've been accused by two different children on three different occasions of choking them and pinching their faces. Yes, that really happened. So, anyways, I got called into the office, and instead of giving me bad news, I actually received some rather incredible news. They offered me my very own classroom with my own four year-olds AND the 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift. Can you say THE LORD IS GOOD? Because He TOTALLY is! Fact: working until 6 p.m. every Monday through Friday was horrid. Absolutely horrid. I was never able to enjoy my evenings because it was already dark by the time I got off. Jesus definitely answers prayers, because you can bet I prayed to be able to enjoy my evenings again for months! I'm telling you, I don't think I've ever been so excited about an answered prayer.

I know I'm at City Kids for a reason. And I'm pretty sure that all of those reasons have already been revealed to me at some point or another. The only thing standing in the way of me enjoying my job has been me all along. Isn't it funny how soon after I completely gave the situation over to the Lord, I was given such a huge blessing? The Lord is faithful. He wants us to ask him for what we want. He wants us to believe that He will deliver. And He wants us to believe that we'll always be protected by Him love and mercy.

So, I start my new hours tomorrow! 6 a.m. is going to come WAY early, but all I've got to say is BRING IT ON! Come 4 o'clock tomorrow afternoon when I can enjoy the beautiful sunshine at last, I'll be praising my little heart out. In my excitement, Wilber and I went shopping for things for my room when I got off tonight. I could have bought everything in that place, but I did good. Wanna know how I know I did good? Well, that's easy: I've still got money in my bank account! Never mind how much; all that matters is that there's some there! ;)

 thank goodness for everything at the Dollar Tree being a dollar.
my bags are all packed and ready to go for in the morning. YAY!

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Ah-men, Ay-men. Thank you, Jesus.
that's how my kiddies end their blessing every day at lunch. pretty cute, huh? :o)

Friday, February 18, 2011

we beliebe.

I didn't have any plans tonight when I got off work, so I thought it would be super fun to take Wilber to see his favorite person on the big screen. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, we made the twenty-second trip to the Camelot Theater to watch Never Say Never 3D. It was the best decision I made all week.

We sang every word to every song that he sang. I cried. At least five times. I kept looking over at Wilber and cracked up every single time because he was so mesmerized. I had to tell my bladder not to explode every ten seconds for the last half of the movie because I didn't want to miss anything. [Yes, it was that good.] There were even a couple times I was smiling so big that I actually busted out in laughter because I was so giddy and happy. And the best part about all of those things is the lack of shame I felt during each of them. It's true: I'm a belieber and always will be.

Homeboy can sing, dance, play the drums, play the guitar, play the piano, and make girls fall in love with him in an instant. The best part is that he does all of those things well. Like really well. And his THAT is just precious. I swear he's the cutest freakin' thing since teddy bears we invented.

 I don't think he's excited, do you?

lookin' fly in our stunna glasses waiting for the moooooooovie to start.

no photoshoot is ever complete without a silly picture.

I will never say never. That's a fact.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011



That's the number of months left until I marry my best friend in the whole world. My high school sweetheart. The first boy I ever kissed. The last boy I'll ever kiss. My precious Teesh.

I still can't believe that the Lord picked me to be the one who gets to walk hand-in-hand for the rest of my life with the best man He ever made. Wow.

"It's been said that there's one word that will free us from the weight and the pain of life. And that word is love. And I believe that. That doesn't mean that it hasn't been hard, or that it won't be. It just means that I've found a stillness and a bravery in myself with you. You make me brave. And I will love you until the end of time..."
-Haley James Scott

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy eighth to us!

Today was the eighth Valentine's Day that Teesh and I have spent together. It doesn't even seem possible that one through seven have already come and gone. Good thing we've got a hundred [if we're lucky] more February fourteenths to spend together. This one, in particular is the only one of its kind: we'll never have another Valentine's Day where we're engaged. And since it was the one and only, it was extra special.

For dinner, he surprised me with flowers and then by taking me to High Cotton. Holy smokes, I was so stinkin' excited! I'd never eaten there before, and it was absolutely wonderful. Our waitress' name was Anna, so that was an added bonus. :o) After we stuffed our faces [literally, stuffed them. I wore my fat pants to bed for a reason tonight], we came back to my house to exchange gifts. He wrote me the sweetest card and got me another addition to our future home: a chalkboard painting of a spoon to go hang in our dining room. YAY! I spotted it in Pier 1 a couple months ago, and he took note of my obsession for it. Now I just need to fork! :-P

I bought him season one of Bones and the newest Lecrae CD, and I also made him a hand-crafted card: "100 things I can't wait to do when I become Mrs. Bargeron." I think he liked it. :o)

I'm so spoiled. And I'm woman enough to admit it. I can't imagine my life without Teesh being such a huge part of it for the last seven and a half years, and he's set the bar higher and higher every year since the first one. I still can't believe that God picked me to be the one he gets to share his life with, but I sure am thankful that he did.

Happy Valentine's Day to you from me. I hope your day was just as magical as mine was. And if you don't think it was, just remind yourself that you are loved and adored by the creator of the universe. Now that should give you chills down your spine and butterflies in your stomach.

The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.” -Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Sunday, February 13, 2011


These pictures are proof that my baby brother is officially nine years old. I still don't know how time has flown by so quickly, but, yes, it's true...he has embarked on his last year of single digits. Un. Real.

I can still remember being twelve when daddy and Shannon showed me and the rest of the gang the pregnancy test and Shannon busted out crying as she handed it to me and Daddy played it cool and Melly, Dusty, and Meeman looked up at me with faces that all said the same thing: "What does that mean?" [Yes, I've always been the smart one].

Happy birthday Wilber!
Accident or no accident, you're our pride and joy. [Even when you're whiney and we all want to knock your teeth out].

I love you, wittle brudder!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a whole afternoon all to ourselves.

I don't think I'll ever get to the point where I think I spend too much time with Teesh. I mean that. Everyone always says that the day will come [probably sooner rather than later] when we will get sick of quality time. Truth be told, I think they're CRAZY, because there is nothing that I'd rather do than spend every afternoon with my fancy [who, by the way, will have the name HUSBAND in only 154 days. EEEEEK!]. Days like today are rare for us, and they have been since I left Clemson, so I make sure I savor every single moment we have together.

Today we took a day trip up to Asheville and toured the Biltmore House for the second time. It was windy and sunny and crowded and my feet hurt when it was all said and done and we had several surprises and we laughed and we got weird stares from people while we laughed and it was perfect. Just perfect.

Brulian? Is that you? Oh wait, no, those are the Scotts. My bad.

totally enchanting.

 and totally handsome.

 I hope I have a cute little garden in my backyard one day & get to have quaint little outdoor furniture like this.

 my, what big ears you have.

 self-portraits are like second nature to us by now.

there's just something about a greenhouse that makes a surge of excitement take over my body.



 ME! sorry ladies.

 imagine this view during the fall when all the leaves are brilliantly colored. wowzers.

 and, again I say, enchanting. those Vanderbilts sure had [have] it made.

 sweet Jenna and her boyfriend were right in front of us during the tour, so we got to hang out with them for a while. it was a wonderful surprise!

and THEN, shortly after, we ran into Steven and Laura! it was definitely our lucky day!

us Phillips girls know how to snag some pretty incredible men. you're looking at two of the best ones the good Lord ever made! :o)

Maybe the next time we visit this beautiful stretch of land, Teesh will feel a bit romantic and insist we stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Because by then we'll be married and be able to have sleepovers every night, wherever we want. YAY! It's going to be pretty cool to be a grown up, I just know it.

"An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul, to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination where we find value, love, and union with the world around us."

-Thomas Moore

Friday, February 11, 2011

this is the moment.

Francesca is right. It's our life. It's mine and it's yours. No one else's. And since that's the case, what am I doing with mine? What are you doing with yours? Do we even take the time to look around us at all? Or do we just get by however we can and just continue on with our heads hanging low? How do I handle my past regrets? My current let-downs? What would I do if my entire world came crashing down tomorrow? How would I respond? What am I doing right now to make sure that people's lives are being changed because of me? Am I doing anything at all? Or am I too busy sticking my bottom lip out so all the world will see that I've given up? Have I forgotten that the fight is worth it?

These are questions that I ask myself every single day. They're huge questions with answers so important that my teeny tiny little brain can't even comprehend. That's were Jesus comes in. Without him, this whole "life" thing is worthless. Crap. Good for nothing. Is that the kind of "life" I want to live? Absolutely, under no circumstances, not. Jeremiah 3 says that when we turn to worthless idols (be it money, relationships. alcohol, whatever), we, too, become worthless. That's some scary stuff when you really think about the depth of that one verse.

Have I become worthless? Have I let myself be defined by what others think of me or how others treat me? Do I care more about my day-in-day-out routine as a human or my entitlement to the kingdom of heaven because of what Jesus did for me? Just like everyone, I hope my life portrays the latter. But does it really? Am I just merely surviving through each day or do I wake up each and every morning determined to live in the hope and joy that is found in Jesus Christ? Is the light that I give off so bright that people have to squint when they look at me? Do I produce light at all?

What does my heart beat for? Am I who I always said I would be? Have I forgotten who I was created to be? Have I lost that little nine year-old girl who walked down the aisle on June 21, 1998 and invited Jesus to live in my heart for ever and always? Do I still believe in the good of every human being on this earth? Do I believe in the mighty power of God that makes the blind see and the lame walk?

It's my life. I get to live it however I want to. And I choose to live it for Jesus, whatever that looks like. At work and at home and out to eat and at the movies and the mall and driving down the road. Whatever it looks like at any given moment to share the love of Jesus, I pray I never get tired of showing it. In sunshine and in rain, my hope will always come from the Lord. His grace and mercy and love are still changing me. I'm not who I was, but I'm also not who I'm going to be.

I'm going to mess up and feel ashamed and take the easy way out and cheat and lie and steal and do a lot of the things I always said I'd never do. But I will rise from the ashes, and he will make me beautiful over and over again.

Thank you, Lord, for not being finished with me yet.

And, for the record, he's not finished with you, either. So why not stop acting like he is?

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

tickle me pink.

I love to laugh. Honestly, it's probably one of my favorite things in the whole wide world to do. I get strange looks from people I'm stopped beside at red lights. I get strange looks from people at the grocery store. Pshhh, I even get strange looks from my best friends. That's because most of the time when I'm laughing, no one has a clue as to why I am. Yes, I'm the girl that busts out laughing for no reason. At all. And in case you were wondering, I am proud to be that girl. The girl who laughs at absolutely nothing.

Then there are times where moments are just too funny not to laugh. The times when people are actually laughing with me [or is it at me?]. The sound of laughter is one of the most wonderful sounds that God created. I think I love it so much because everyone's is different. It's unique to them. It only belongs to them. In a wacky sort of way, I think the sound of someone laughing call tell a lot about who they are. You've got the snorters and the gigglers and the knee-slappers and the ones who desperately gasp for air and the cacklers and the [insert random cough] into the mix-ers.All sorts of laughs. From all sorts of people.

My laughter changes depending on how funny something is. All of the types of laughs I just mentioned above, I've been guilty of. But, overall, I'd consider myself more of a giggle-with-a-side-of-major-cheese laugher. Occasional snort. Okay, more than occasional. Just not frequently. [or is it?]

Since I like to laugh, I catch myself looking at old pictures just so I can have a reason to relive a sweet memory and chuckle a little bit, both at the same time.

I found these pictures tonight, and you can bet your hard-earned dollar that every one of them gave me the perfect opportunity to snicker to myself. A lot. It's crazy to me how just a few minutes of a person's life can still be so vivid in their mind, even years later.

This was the time I hijacked Teesh's hair while we were on vacation at the beach with my mommy.

It. Was. Awesome.

That was my happy memory for the day. What's yours?

"Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
-The Wonder Years

Sunday, February 6, 2011

in a nut shell.

Whew, have I been slack this week or what? Well, honestly speaking, I've had a quite productive past seven days. So productive, in fact, that I haven't even had time to document all the fun I've had. Yepp, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. And here's you a teeny little glimpse into what made this week so wonderful to prove it.

I welcomed the second month of 2011 with open arms. I watched B. Davis finally get married with my P. Sawyer and Nathan [and received dozens of messages from some of my favorite people expressing their excitement about my wedding!]. I celebrated good ol' Phil the Groundhog's prediction of an early spring. I met with Cait Cait for our third week of accountability, which [in my opinion] was our best yet. I took a trip to the mall with Shannon and left with a pair of Gianni Bini heels that were 70% off that will be perfect for my last fling before the ring. That same night, Shannon purchased her MOB dress [which is stunning, by the way]. I stamped our save the dates and ordered invitations, both with the help of my trusty wedding-planning sidekick. I rejoiced in the five-month mark of me being the future Mrs. Bargeron. [And then I entered a state of shock, because, I mean really, how has it already been five whole months?] I finished up another week as a big girl who works forty hours a week. I finally spent an entire weekend in Clemson with my boy, which was such a breath of fresh air. I was woken up on Saturday morning by a chipper TJ who gleefully brought it to my attention that we were going to be getting ready to get married 23 weeks from that very moment. I attended my second wedding festival with my sweet friend Kylie, and impressed all of the vendors I talked to with my organization and lack of procrastination. I dedicated my Saturday evening to playing catch-up with my Squidney, who I hadn't seen in over three months [and let me tell you, it was the best reunion I've had in quite some time]. I woke up to discover that my collar bone is currently being taken over by a wretched bacterial infection known as ring worm [I know, it's disgusting]. I bawled my eyes out the entire service at NewSpring. I sat outside in my car with fancy for an hour while we waited for the locksmith to come let us back in his apartment [sometimes his memory fails him; i.e. when we lock the door, close it, and THEN he remembers his keys are inside]. I left Clemson early so I could spend some time with my daddy before he headed back out on the road [it's hard to believe that I've only got 22 more weekends to spend with my family before I pack up and move out]. And now I'm watching the Superbowl. But not really for the game, more so for the commercials.

Speaking of commercials, I've already picked my favorites. Yes, I realize the game isn't over yet, but I am pretty positive that there won't be any other ones better than these three right here and here and here. These. Kill. Me. Dead.

I'm already anticipating another splendid week, regardless of my circumstances. I'm so thankful that Jesus already knows what I'm going to go through and that he's already drop-kicked all my not-so-great moments in the face. Here's to a fantastic sixth week of a brand new year!

p.s. go Panthers!
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