Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Aaron.

I actually wrote this post over a year ago {silly me erased the actual date}. And while I'm not in the same emotionally drained and sad state that I was in when I wrote this, I do still feel the same about the winter dragging on too darn long and I do feel the same about my sweet Aaron.. who beautifully went from m'boyfriend to my fiancé since these words were first written. Seems fitting to share it now, in this fresh, new season. So here ya go!

My heart has been having a rough time here lately. It's a dreaded occurrence, but not a foreign one. It tends to come when the winter lingers a little too long-- my freckles have nearly faded and the tops of my shoulders start to forget what it feels like to be kissed by the sun. I've been spending most of my days alone and while I can't say I'm enjoying myself, I can say that I'm getting a private lesson in Bethany 101. I've had a lot of time to think lately. I've been doing a lot of reflecting on life and decided for a minute to focus on one of the blessings of this season instead of a disappointment. 

I thought I'd share a story that I think really speaks volumes about this guy I've decided to spend my days with. If I had to describe Aaron in one word it would be servant. And I am so grateful. 

The other day A. and I weren't having the greatest day {okay, I'm sure it was more like I was having a bad day and decided I didn't want to keep it all to myself so I dragged him into it with me}. We hadn't been communicating very well and it was taking a toll. We probably weren't being very nice to each other and it probably wasn't the first time.  I was sitting on the couch with A. beside me, distracted by my own thoughts, when I felt him get up and leave the room. He came back a few minutes later with a bowl of warm water, soap, and a towel. He looked me in the eye, sat on the floor in front of me, took off my socks, and began washing my feet. To some of you that probably sounds weird, to others who know Jesus, it sounds just like it was: beautiful

"It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, 
he now showed them the full extent of his love.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. 'Do you understand what I have done for you?' he asked them. 'You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
John 13:1, 3-5, 12-17


And that's where my last post stopped. But friends, that boy is still just as much of a servant today as he was then. And I'm convinced that saying "I do" will only cement that feeling in his heart and those actions in his hands. He is such an example to me and I am so grateful to call him mine. 

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord... 
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."
Ephesians 5:22, 25 

It is so (SO) easy for me to get stubborn and say, "Psh... I don't want to submit to anyone!!" But if I'm honest with myself, the calling God has given to Aaron is so much harder than the one he's given to me. Because another way I look at it is God is asking Aaron to love and serve me and he's just asking me to let him. Whew! Just when I didn't think I could get any more thankful for grace, I write a sentence like that! Why is it so dang hard to let people love us?! Thankful for the grace to keep figuring that one out! 

On December 1st Aaron got down on one knee and when I look back on that moment, it makes me remember the very significant moment I shared above. In both moments Aaron lowered himself to elevate me and showed me a beautiful picture of the gospel. So humbled that he chose me to be his wife.

184 days to go babe, and I cannot wait!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

four things.

You guys, I have so much to catch up on… I don't even know where to start! So I saw this post over at the Pleated Poppy and thought it could be just the ticket to get my creative juices flowing again! 

4 jobs I've held in my life
a. a lifeguard
b. a waitress at Macados (learning experience of a lifetime y'all!)
c. Marketing Director for a Chick-fil-A restaurant
d. full time nanny (and I thought waiting tables was a learning experience… ha!)

{seriously, she's the best}

4 movies I've watched more than once
a. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
b. Bridesmaids
c. Tarzan
d. 13 Going on 30

4 places I've lived
a. Charlotte, NC
b. Roanoke, VA
c. the MANhouse at JMU (and of course the Greenhouse… but it only let me have 4!)
d. busy Wayne Ave in Waynesboro

4 tv shows I watch
a. Parenthood
b. Nashville
c. Downton Abbey 
d. New Girl

4 places I've been
a. Fraser, Colorado (to serve at Crooked Creek Ranch for a month)
b. Duxbury, Massachusetts (one of my favorite places on earth)
c. Portland, Oregon
d. New Braunfels, Texas (Gruene Hall, y'all! Texas' oldest dance hall- so cool!)

{Duxbury, MA}

4 favorite foods
a. brownies
b. potatoes (mashed, fried, baked, loaded, au gratin… you name it)
c. fajitas
d. semi-sweet chocolate chips straight out of the bag

4 places I'd rather be right now
a. on my mama's couch watching the food network and chatting about wedding maybes 
b. Duxbury, MA (although it's snowing… and the Crystal Cottage doesn't have insulation…)
c. somewhere warm!
d. thrift shopping

4 things I'm looking forward to this year
a. getting MARRIED to this guy!!!
b. going on a HONEYMOON 
c. moving into a new apartment and getting it ready for my first ever boy roommate 
(other than my dad of course)
d. reading lots of good books 

4 places I love to shop
a. Goodwill
b. Plato's Closet in Roanoke
c. Trader Joe's (it's just fun!)
d. Sweethaus (…does that count!?)

Well, I'm going to keep enjoying my snow day over here… I hope all of your Tuesdays are blessed and WARM! Thanks for hanging out and catching up! If you have time, think about YOUR 
4 things and share them with me! I'd love to learn these fun facts about some of you, friends!  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


This song is touching something deep, deep inside of me and waking up something that has been sleeping for a while.

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I'm too young to understand
They say I'm caught up in a dream
Life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes
Well that's fine by me

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
I hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don't have any plans
Wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone
And love is the prize

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost

-'Wake Me Up' by Avicii

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 
-Matthew 11:28-30

We weren't created to carry the weight of the world, so why do we keep trying? Let's remind ourselves that while we only have two hands, Jesus offers to carry the burden for us... and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

"For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost." 
-Luke 19:10

Sometimes we don't even know that we're lost... but the thankfully Jesus seeks us even in our denial. Hallelujah!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

{8 things}

to my dearest friends:

I have been a pretty big slacker on this here blog lately... however, in my defense, I've been quite stellar with daily {okay, okay, hourly} updates on my Instagram!

{Feel free to follow me at @b_shelton}

I thought it would be fun to say hello with a few quirky things I've been learning about myself over the past week {or sometime in the past 25 years}. 8 things to be precise {because that's all I could come up with}.

1. I have a strange and increasing fear of voicemails. Why am I so afraid of clicking "play" when I know that I'll get to hear my loved ones' voices on the other end? I don't know. I think it makes me feel like I'm signing a contract or making a vow to call back in a timely manner or carry out some kind of enormous task. It's a bizarre phobia I'm looking forward to conquering. I know it's strange and to me, it's sad. I'm sorry if you've felt neglected because of it. If you have called me in the past year or so and never heard back, I'm sorry. I love you and I'm working on it.

2. I do not like leftovers. Not sure why, but the idea of eating the same thing two days in a row does not appeal to me. The idea of turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving gives me the willies. No thank you. So from now on if I ask for leftover this or that, you'll know either I really love you or whatever you made was darn good!

3. Snakes. I don't even know if I have the stamina to complete this one. I hate them. They terrify me to an unhealthy level. If I even start thinking about them too much I start to freak out a little... like now. Okay, done.

4. My closet is color-coded. I've thought about sorting the individual colors by sleeve length but thought that might be going a little too far.

5. I am grossed out by the idea of microwaving chicken. Yuck. Talk about a rubber chicken!

6. I love the previews before a movie so I never let my fellow movie watchers skip them. If I'm out of the room, I will actually ask Aaron to pause the previews until I return. Crazy, I know. I enjoy watching previews almost as much as I enjoy the movie itself. I always come up with a list of movies I can't wait to see, and then never get around to it. Movie date anyone?

7. If I could only listen to one musician/band for the rest of my days, I would choose Joshua Radin. His breathy voice does something very, very good for my soul. He is my current Pandora station and I'm loving it.

8. I love to read. I basically devour books and I am in love with the library. Since the middle of June I've probably read around 10 books {aka at least 1.25 books a week}. I can't walk out of the library with only one book. I have to wander and search and emerge with a stack of 4 or 5 {...or 11}. I'm always taking {and giving} suggestions!! So bring 'em on!

{via Aaron on Instagram -Yes, this really, truly happened... there were witnesses}

What is something funny, unusual, quirky, or downright weird that you're brave enough to share? I dare you!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

homesick & spoiled

After a strange bout of homesickness, I decided to retreat to the mountains of my adolescence for a long weekend. My parents are such good parents and they spoil me like the only child I never was when I visit Roanoke. Yummy food, good conversations, fun outings, and the chance to be dependent again for a little while draws me to this place.

My weekend highlights...


I don't have a ton of lasting friendships from my years in Roanoke. Most of them have slowly {or rather quickly} dwindled, so getting the chance to hang out with one of my dearest friends in that town is a really special treat! Susan was my Young Life leader when I was in high school but our friendship has grown along with us. We went to this cute little bakery/restaurant that I had never been to- Wildflour cafe- and it was delicious! She is getting MARRIED this January so we had lots to talk about! I am looking so forward to watching her walk down the aisle. {I am in the stage where it's hard for me to be genuinely happy for someone getting engaged and married when I'm not, but with her it's 100% authentic.} 

..Salem Redsox..

{things to note about this photo: the fantastic mullet on that guy, bacon being sold at the
corn dog stand- naturally- and those people flying down the carnival version of Dropzone...
thanks but no thanks!}

I got some quality one-on-one time with Dad on Friday night when we escaped to a baseball game. It's been raining for 40 days and 40 nights in Roanoke, so when the clouds parted we made a mad dash for some time outside. Not only did we get to see the Redsox play {and it would be an understatement to say that Dad loves baseball}, but the Salem fair just happened to be in town. Needless to say, that provided a lot of added entertainment for us- people watching, elephants, livestock, and the sights and sounds of a good ol' fashioned carnival!

..Pottery Show..

For the past 2 years, my mama has been spending at least one night a week taking pottery classes. Then one Christmas Dad bought her a pottery wheel of her very own and pottery started sneaking into every conversation, free moment, and room and surface in the house {...all of our houses}. So when Mom told me that she was planning to host an open house to sell some of her pieces I really wanted to be there. It worked out and I got to be around for this kind-of-big-deal!! She is one talented mama! 

{I'm working on an Etsy account... if you're interested, her stuff is one-of-a-kind and pretty awesome for gifts... or cereal/ice cream bowls/jewelry holders... that's what I use mine for!}


If I think the thrifting is good in Staunton and Charlottesville, you should see how well I did in a city the size of Roanoke! I made out like a bandit {and found some pretty cute stuff for Mom, too}!
I'm considering a blogging series on my thrifting escapades... we'll see what comes of that idea!


As I was heading out of town I had this odd moment of pull-and-tug as I started to pass my all time favorite wrap and smoothie shop- Elderberry's. To stop or not to stop... it's never even a question! Ever since they came to town when I was in high school, they've been my favorite {way too expensive} treat. I grabbed a Pineapple Berry smoothie and was in heaven for my long ride home. 

Hope your weekends were as full of blessings as mine was! 
So much love, 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

the thrifting game

If you asked me, "Bethany, what are you good at?" I'd probably have a self-deprecating moment of "well, I'm not very good at anything.." and then a smile would cross my face and I'd correct my previous statement. "Actually, I'm really good at thrifting." 

I was raised by a mother who loves a good thrift store, who never met a yard sale she didn't like. I was raised to wonder 'why pay full price?' Let someone else do that, wear it/use it a few times, and then I'll take it off their hands for a fraction of what they paid. Some people get the heebie-jeebies at the thought of wearing someone else's cast offs- not me! 
I say "reduce, reuse, recycle" and I love every minute of it. 

Thrifting has turned into a hobby, a game, for me. But you have to learn the rules of the game to win. I feel the thrill of a win when someone compliments my outfit and I get to tell them that I rescued it from various Goodwill stores {and for less than $7.50 too!}. 

I'm not the least bit ashamed- those are some of my proudest moments! And it's just as fun for me to share my secret locations and tricks-of-the-trade with friends- so I thought that's what I'd do today! 

{My biggest thrifting win so far- a pair of new with-the-tags Banana Republic jeans in just my size. Original price: $89.90, I got them for $3.50}

The top 4 rules to my thrifting game:

1. Patience.
My advice is to go thrifting when you have time to spare. I can't handle walking into a thrift store just to be rushed through the experience. I need time to look through every rack to feel satisfied. Finding treasures is so hit or miss that you really need to see what they have. That being said, I've learned to move fast! No need to linger, you can usually tell by the fabric if it's something you'd be interested in or not. 

2. Be picky (but not too picky).
Rule of thumb: be very careful when buying anything white (especially shirts). Yucky yellow stains are inevitable. 

Don't feel trapped by the size you think you wear. Remember, these clothes have already been worn and washed so it's likely that they wont fit like new. Older clothes {or vintage} were probably made in different sizes too. So if you like it, hold it up, try it on, and go from there.  

Remember it's only $3.50 so live a little! Buy that pair of bright yellow skinny jeans that you might only wear once in a blue moon {see below}! It's okay!!

3. Make good choices. 
If you don't need pants, don't let yourself look at that rack of pants no matter how loudly they're calling your name. On the other hand, if you really need shirts- focus there and you will be rewarded!

If you're not sold on something, don't buy it! There will always be more. 

TRY IT ON!! You really never know if you don't try it on! I promise it's worth it! I get a cart {yes, I'm one of those people}, fill it up with all of my maybes, and then head to the dressing room once. Fun fact about me: I loathe multiple trips, so I do it all in one attempt. Just remember, it seriously never hurts to try! It helps me weed through my mistakes and walk away with only the real winners. 

Current favorites: 
*Charlottesville Goodwill {off Exit 124 on Pantops Rd.}
*Fredericksburg Goodwill Superstore {yes, apparently they have those}
*Staunton Goodwill

**Interesting fact: prices depend on where you are {aka the Waynesboro Goodwill is so much cheaper than Fredericksburg and Richmond} so keep that in mind when traveling.**

I can't wait to hear about all of your finds and thrifting wins! Please, please share them so I can celebrate with you! If you ever need a shopping buddy you know who to call! 

Happy thrifting, friends!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

beautiful things

If I had a dollar for every time I got the question: 'So, what do you want to do?' I would never have to get a job at all! I get that question over and over from well-meaning people who genuinely want to help. But nonetheless it is a question that makes me feel twitchy and nervous because I just don't have an answer. 

So I started pondering this question on my own time and not just with that deer-in-the-headlights look when confronted with it in front of an audience. What do I want to do? What draws me in? What gives me life and meaning and purpose? What gives me joy instead of taking joy away? And here is what I came up with: 

I want to work with beautiful things. I want to spend my days in beautiful places with beautiful people, beautiful flowers, beautiful food, or beautiful materials... 

Very general, yes, but I realized that is what's important to me. I feel God most near when I am shown his beauty in detail. Nothing that I see is accidental- it was all purposed to show me that God is beautiful and that he loves me dearly. So I want to spend my days immersed in that beauty somehow. One day I hope that can be lived out surrounded by the beauty of my own kids- keeping a beautiful house, preparing beautiful meals, and creating beautiful memories with a beautiful husband and our beautiful family. But I'm not there yet- so in the meantime, what job will bless me with a glimpse of that same joy and purpose today? 

I'm still working through that one... so I'll wait. 

"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of dust..." -Gungor

If I trust God, he can make even the dustiest, dirtiest things beautiful for me and so I'll be patient {or at least I'll pray for patience}. And while I wait it out, I will find comfort in knowing that.