Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Ben Rector sounds a little like Michael Buble... but with a heart to glorify Jesus through his music. 
I got to see Ben perform twice this weekend {in D.C. on Saturday and Lynchburg on Monday} and he seriously blew me away. {Did you notice, we're on a first name basis, because did I mention I got to meet him, too?? Yeah, that was pretty cool..} 

Anyways, you should download his sampler for FREE on Noisetrade. It's awesome. 

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorites: 

"When a Heart Breaks" by Ben Rector

'I know the pain of a heartbreak
I don't have answers and neither do you
I know the pain of a heartbreak

This isn't easy, this isn't clear
And you don't need Jesus 
Til you're here..'

Sometimes when the storm hits, we think we've been forsaken. But the reality is the opposite. Jesus never leaves our side, the storms are just what make us recognize our need for him {because otherwise we tend to think we're all set on our own.. and we're not}.

"Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, 
for the Lord your God goes with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:2

"'Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord."
Jeremiah 1:8

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Exodus 14:14

"White Dress" by Ben Rector

"The Beat" by Ben Rector

"Her heart is broken 
But she won't say that
Her heart is broken
But she can't go back

Your heart is a lonely one.."

Our world is a broken one. And without Jesus, our hearts are broken beyond repair.

"The light shines in the darkness, 
but the darkness has not understood it."
John 1:5

"He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!'"
Revelation 21:5

"The Kill" by Ben Rector

"He's still feeling like he's 16
And you're chasing all of the same drink
Only living on the weekend nights
The card is empty but the tab got paid
I think it's funny how some things change
There's got to be more to life

He can't stand knowing he's dying
Tick tock timing
He feels the kill
And my God, he'd love to know why he's dead inside
'Cause he just can't get his fill..

Pretty dead on, huh? What is our world living for? What are we chasing? Full life is offered as a free gift... but will we take it? A head knowledge isn't enough. Will I really open up my heart and my life to accept what Jesus offers- which is so much more that I could ever dream of. 

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
according to his power that is at work within us, 
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, 
for ever and ever! Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, 
and all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33

Just a few thoughts, courtesy of Mr. Ben Rector.
Thanks, Ben..

Thursday, April 19, 2012

{april 14}

On April 14th, 1988, I was born. Last weekend I celebrated my twenty-fourth birthday. I never thought I would be where I am at 24 {geographically or season of life} and yet here I am. This was sort of a hard birthday for me... 23 was a good age for me and now 25 is right around the corner. But regardless of the age {I mean it is just a number, right??} the day was nearly perfect!


{My beautiful small group girls came over for a delicious brunch. We had so much food- and juice- and we got to chat and laugh without a care in the world for a few glorious hours. I was so blessed to start my birthday with these girls.}

"...They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
And the Lord added to their number daily..."
Acts 2:46b-47


{Around the table from left to right: Jennifer, Hallie, Alycia, Kari, Dani, Alina, Becca, & Meredith-
We missed you Jessie!}

Plain and simple: I love flowers. My sweet Young Life team bought me a beautiful bouquet and gave them to me {along with the perfect Young Life rendition of "Happy Birthday"} at leadership on Friday and then Aaron brought me the prettiest bunch you've ever seen {with tulips... he may have had a few hints here and there} on Saturday morning.


All I had planned for Saturday was a trip through Staunton and to visit a particular vintage clothing shop. The shop is on top of 17 E. Beverly Antiques.. it is called Retro and Me and it is precious. Aaron and I made R&M our first stop and he let me browse to my hearts content- he even held the things I found while I kept searching and waited on me while I played dress up {I bought a few cute things too, which made it all even better!}


{The last photo is a snapshot of Aaron's shirt- he may not think I noticed, but I know he wore one of my favorite outfits to make me smile... sweet boy.}


Sometimes I think all we do is eat. But since I had just eaten so much at brunch, we skipped lunch in favor of ice cream at the Split Banana {Carmel Nut Crunch & Hazelnut- Mmm!}. It was so fun to sit on a sunshine-y bench on one of the busiest streets in Staunton to people watch, talk about life, and laugh without anyone or anything rushing us.

I had visited Sunspots before, but had never gotten to see the artists actually blow glass. When we walked in this time, the studio was open to spectators- so fun! Talk about the gift of craftsmanship! Wow!



Next, we ventured onto the roof of a parking deck in Staunton to take in the view. It was beautiful, of course, but it was also neat to see the history in the buildings, the age in the brick, all from the roof-top perspective that you never get to see from the ground. Staunton is a delightful town.


{Like I said before... we like to eat. So at Aaron's insistence {okay, okay so I didn't put up much of a fight}, we stepped into the Cocoa Mill to smell the chocolates and walked out with two of our own to satisfy our sweet tooth. Mine was caramel covered in dark chocolate with sea salt on top. Delicious. And all made by hand in their Lexington shop.}

The day only got better from there... we drove the scenic route up 42 into Harrisonburg, got pedicures {yes that was plural for a reason...}, and then ended up at Texas Roadhouse for dinner. The line was out the door and yet somehow we were seated right away {Happy Birthday to me}! We ate more food than I thought was humanly possible and it was delicious.


This may sound silly, but social media {Facebook and Twitter} and technology {phone calls and text messages} made my day even brighter!

Final Count: 83 Facebook posts; 12 mentions on Twitter; 5 phone calls; 18 texts

We finished the night with brownies at the Mallory house where they were kind enough to sing to me and give me gifts. We put in a movie and I promptly fell asleep in my chair after such a full day... Oops! I woke up long enough for the ride home and then fell into my bed in absolute thankfulness for a God who rejoices over me and friends and family {and boyfriend} who think it is worth celebrating the fact that I was born and live another day.

"For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.
The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people,
his treasured possession."
Deuteronomy 7:6

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5


Here's to 24, may it be blessed, and may it be a blessing,

Monday, April 16, 2012


I think Easter is underrated. It has become so commercialized that it gets lost in the haze that is gigantic chocolate bunnies and baskets and Easter egg hunts. But it is honestly the crux of it all {...get it?} Christmas is beautiful and incredible- but without the cross, without Easter, we would be just like everyone else on Earth. Hopeless. Easter makes the world go 'round; it gives life meaning and purpose where otherwise there is none. Because of Easter we have a living God. Because of Easter we have hope.


{My parents' church in Roanoke holds one big service at the Salem Civic Center. It would be easy for the room to feel cold and sterile with all the seats and concrete, but it doesn't. So much effort is put into making that huge room a place of worship. Flowers and banners and most of all people fill the room.
Those seats didn't stay empty for long.}


{Aaron, and I did the Daniel Fast for the last three weeks of Lent- meaning we gave up eating and drinking basically everything that was not plant based. Twenty-one days with no meat, no dairy, nothing with yeast, no coffee, no sugar... nothing. So finally on Sunday morning I got to celebrate that Jesus is risen AND I got to break my fast. I chose Dunkin' Donuts. Boston Creme and a Mocha Iced Coffee with cream and sugar. Yum.}


{It was such a treat to be with these two lovely girls for a few days. Now that we live in three different towns, it is a challenge to get us all home at once. But that was part of what made Easter so special this year. The older we get, the more we- finally- start to appreciate each other for the gifts that sisters really can be.
Three peas in a pod.}


{That family is the biggest blessing of my life. Looking at those pictures puts a welcome lump in my throat. They are some of my best friends and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Everyone has their own opinion-
but who do you think looks alike in the Shelton family??}

He is risen,