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. 



Monday, April 8, 2013

8 things

8 things I'm looking forward to this week: 

8. Porch-sittin' in the glorious spring {finally} weather.

7. The Pandora station A. created: Mumford & Sons + Mat Kearney + Phil Wickham = Glory. 

6. Walks to the library to check out as many books as I can carry home. 

5. Fresh coffee in the mornings {ground from the beans by yours truly}.

4. A Friday night wine date with a sweet friend. 

3. Temperatures warm enough to open the windows. 

2. A day in the trees at Rockbridge {it's been a while since I've visited my old friend}.

1. My birthday! Less than 6 days- the countdown is on! {No numbers, people.}


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jesus Calling

This morning I was spending some time with Jesus and was smacked in the face with the reality that if I just sit down, close my mouth, and open my ears, God will meet me {and fight for me}! 
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

His words are true and his actions are full of love and purpose!
Here is the gift He gave me this morning:

"Make friends with the problems in your life. Though many things feel random and wrong, remember that I am sovereign over everything. I can fit everything into a pattern for good, 
but only to the extent that you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something, 
transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be. 
The very same problem can become a stumbling block over which you fall, 
if you react with distrust and defiance. The choice is up to you, 
and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me." 
-Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

A lot in my life has been feeling random and wrong lately... a lot. But his compassions are new every morning {Lamentations 3:19-26} and God loved me enough to give me a reminder this morning that the trials aren't for nothing and he will work them all out for my good as long as I trust Him to do so. 

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 
'This is the way; walk in it.'" Isaiah 30:21

Thankful {full of thanks}, 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

technicolor {on a cloudy day}

Yesterday I took a little trek around the neighborhood for a dose of fresh air. I needed to get out of the house, so I took Aaron's camera with me in case I saw something worth documenting. I didn't have high hopes on such a cloudy day. 

I was mistaken. It's amazing how much color there really is even on such a grey afternoon. 

Little pops of color were everywhere! Special surprises waiting to be found if you just took the time to look around. I'm sure the passing cars thought I was crazy-- sitting in the middle of an alley to take a picture of the asphalt, hiding in a bush to capture a colorful pipe. But in the end I think it was worth it. 
So worth it. 

Have a colorful day! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Meredith | Portraits

Photography has definitely been the name of the game around here lately. My Aaron is such a talented guy {it was one of the first things I liked about him} and I have loved supporting and encouraging his dream to start his own photography business. {As a quick note, if you haven't yet, would you please "like" Aaron Mallory Photography on Facebook? Thanks!!} It's been such a blessing {and learning experience} to play the role of "behind-the-scenes support," and unemployment has given me a lot of extra time to help out, but recently I realized that wasn't quite fulfilling enough. So I decided to stop just living vicariously through A. and start learning the ropes for myself. 

My education began today when my sweet friend Meredith and I went on a little adventure. We packed up our cameras and headed to Crozet for coffee at my favorite place {the Mudhouse} and some exploring. Meredith is not only one of the most talented young photographers I know, but she is also so generous with her knowledge. She was a lovely subject for today's little adventure/lesson and I hope I did her beauty justice in my {beginner} photographs.

Isn't she beautiful? We had such a blast! Make sure to take a look at the photographs she took of me at her blog and "like" her Facebook page, too!! Okay, enough marketing for now. 

I hope you have a great day and get a chance to enjoy the beauty around you. Sometimes we have to leave comfort for an adventure, and sometimes we just need to open our eyes and look around. {I just hope you don't nearly lose your fingers and toes to frostbite like us! Stay warm my friends.}


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:5-6

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's next?

I am not a quitter. But sometimes enjoying life is worth more and means more than just sticking it out. So this month I took a leap of faith. I had been feeling restless at work for some time now and it had begun to affect the rest of my world. I felt like the joy was seeping from my heart. My days were a little bit dimmer because of the heavy burden on my shoulders. Not fun and definitely not the way I wanted to live my life. So I walked away.

My last day at Chick-fil-A was January 11th. I gave a lot of myself and my life to that business over the last two and a half years; and I was able to build relationships with a lot of great people along the way. And while leaving was definitely bittersweet, it was time to go.

So a lot of people have been asking me: What's next? And the real answer is: I don't know... but God does. So I'm trying my hardest to trust. To wait patiently and be still.

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

If you have any ideas or opportunities for me, I'd love to hear them.
Thanks for the support.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kisses from Katie

I think it is so fun to spread the word about things I love or am currently passionate about via blogging. It blows my mind the way things get passed around and grown through social media!

Just before Christmas my roommate, Lisa {I told you, a lot has changed around here! I'll share that story another day}, headed to Uganda, Africa, to spend the holiday with her boyfriend who is a missionary over there. As she packed and prepared, she shared a little bit of the itinerary for her time in Africa. One thing on her list was to visit a girl named Katie. Katie is my age (24), born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, lives in Uganda, and has adopted 13 Ugandan girls. Yes, you read that correctly- at 24 years old, she is "Mommy" to 13 precious girls born and orphaned in Uganda. Katie has a unique story to say the least so she wrote a book- a New York Times Bestseller titled "Kisses from Katie." After Lisa told me about her book I told Aaron {okay maybe "nagged" is a better word} that all I wanted for Christmas was "Kisses from Katie." And he delivered.

"Sometimes working in a Third World country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper. And just when I have about half a cup full of water it rains... I am not here to eliminate poverty, to eradicate disease, to put a stop to people abandoning babies. I'm just here to love." -Katie Davis (pg.13, 16)

I've only begun to break the surface at 6 chapters into the story but words like that are enthralling. Her story gives me goosebumps as I read about the tragedy, the sorrow, the pain, the rejoicing, the love, and the God who knows- and cares about- every hair on their {white or 'coffee bean-colored'} heads. Katie's words are an inspiration and a kick in the rear! Every other page makes me ask, 'what in the world am I doing with my life?' and simultaneously gives the encouragement that the God of the universe wants to bless me. When we ask 'why?' she says, "Because the God who created us loves us. Because He created each one of us for a purpose and he wants us to fulfill that purpose. Because the God who knows every hair on my head desires to lift me out of this dust and into His glory." -Katie Davis (pg. 56)

I get so caught up in my small town and my selfish worries that I forget just how enormous this world really is and how enormous the need is. The need for food, clothing, and shelter, yes, absolutely, but so much more than that- the need for love, redemption, and Jesus. The need for one person to enter the world of another. The need for willing hearts and open hands. I've never felt particularly called to serve overseas, but that's where we get it wrong. The need for love, redemption, and Jesus is just as enormous right here, in our own country, the towns we live in day-to-day, in our own backyards! My life is to be spent fulfilling the purpose God created me for.

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..." 
Philippians 3:7-9a

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
Philippians 1:21

Do I live like that? No. Do I want to live like that? With every fiber of my being.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

Don't give me what I want, Lord. But make the plans you have for me the very desires of my heart. Make your will the cry of my inmost being. Allow my hands and feet to further your kingdom.
"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" (Romans 10:15).

So I challenge you {and myself} to put your entertaining novels on hold and turn off the television for just a minute to read about a life surrendered to God. A life that is all about sacrifice and giving God the glory. What am I? A salesman? For right now I am! Buy the book, buy the e-book, check it out from the library, visit Katie's blog at, and let's start 2013 thinking outside ourselves and seeking God's perfect will for our lives. He thinks we're pretty fantastic and has a lot planned for us.

Here to love,