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Archive for May, 2010

“…We will never love until we realize our fears are what keep us from walking in Christ-like love.

So now, we know the problem. So what’s the solution? Understanding Christ’s Sacrificial Love.” (Read Part 1)

Part 2…
In my own life I struggle to love people in an unconditional way. I have lots of wounds just like the rest of you that have caused insecurity and fear to take root in deep my heart. And, like most of you, I grew up in a somewhat of a Christian home. But none the less, it was a home that lacked stability and security, and had lot’s of pain and divorce. As an adult, I’ve begun to recognize the depths of my struggles as a fearful and insecure person. The fear of rejection has been a constant in my life. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I have pulled far away from relationships because of fear.

I’ve always wanted to be as hidden as possible. All of the roots in my heart have pointed back to a false perception that I’ve had of myself. The perception that no one loves me unless I am without flaws. It’s like “chasing the wind”; something I can never catch. Perfection. The very thing that I think will draw people to me and will give me acceptance is the very thing that pushes me away from them. I’m not striving to live out the faith I believe because I am too busy striving to be accepted by my peers. This leads to a long winding path of sin and shame. In my past, the sin and shame that I encountered then turned into deep unrelenting guilt and condemnation, which pushed me further into my insecurity. Moral of the story: trying to fix the problem on our own always makes the problem worse.

It wasn’t until I truly encountered the unconditional love of Christ that my pursuit changed. And it wasn’t necessarily one moment, but rather a shift in my pursuits. Now that I’ve begun to daily pursue Christ, my longing for acceptance and identity isn’t always wrapped up in my physical appearance, the acceptance of people, or my ability to be perfect. It is wrapped up in and defined by the love of Christ. I am unconditionally loved, as you are. And it has nothing to do with my righteousness and everything to do with God’s goodness. So it was love that changed me and continues to change me.

Knowing unconditional love has caused a deep love within me for others, and is the very thing that gives me the ability to walk in forgiveness. His love is a love that forgives all sin and shame. How then can I not show that same love to others? Unless we are constantly having a true revelation of Christ, we cant. It’s impossible.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 11-12)

You see, I can’t do or say anything anything profound enough to make the truth about the love of Christ known to you. There are some things that human vocabulary limits you from explaining, to me this is one of those things. God is love. Therefore to understand love you must know God. I can’t wrap my mind around someone loving me without conditions. I can’t wrap my mind around someone loving me before, during and after I rejected them. This kind of love is so hard for me to understand, and I have a feeling that I am not the only one. When I search the depths of my heart and see the sinfulness that lives within me I cant believe that God could see past that darkness. But he does. I am forgiven. Now I must walk in that same forgiveness for others.

Read more about Melissa!!! 🙂 Click HERE.

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Part 1

Love is a confusing thing in our culture. The reason it is confusing is because we “love” everything.

We throw the word “love” around weightlessly. How can the word used to describe affection and adoration towards your husband, your family, your kids and your closest friends be the same word that is used to describe the pancakes you had at breakfast, a favorite movie, the new shoes you bought last week, and the new store that opened up around the corner. I am guilty, true.

Everything that has a positive connotation in my mind is generally described by using the word “love”. Though we use the word often, we have lost its meaning.

So what is love? That’s my question.

According to the Bible, love is the ultimate form of sacrifice. I think it’s impossible to understand perfect love without understanding Jesus.

John 14:9-10 says “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins”

Jesus calls us to love others, including our enemies, in the same sacrificial way that we have been loved by him. But here’s the problem: we suck at this. I suck at this. Love doesn’t come naturally to us at all.

In fact, according to the Bible, in and of ourselves we cannot love at all!
So what keeps us from walking in Love?

Fear.

We typically live our lives in fear, rather than love. You see, we are fearful that if we put ourselves out there, then our hearts will be wide open to pain and rejection. We hold onto our offenses out of fear of not getting justice for how we were treated wrongly. So we are insecure because we are fearful. Then we gossip because we are fearful, and have jealousy because we are fearful of someone being better than us. All our relational conflicts come from fear.

Conflict, strife, jealousy, disunity, gossip, insecurities, grudges, offenses are all based in fear.
And when we walk in fear, we cannot walk in love. As John says “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

Our human tendency is to withhold love from those who we don’t feel deserve it. So rather than loving all people regardless of their behavior, we make ourselves judge and decide who gets our favor and who does not. There are lots of major things wrong with this false view of love. One being Matthew 5:44.
“Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

We will never love until we realize our fears are what keep us from walking in Christ-like love.

So now, we know the problem. So what’s the solution? Understanding Christ’s Sacrificial Love.

And that’s part 2.

Want to meet Guest Author, Melissa?? Read all about her here!!!
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How have you seen this in your relationships?

How have you let fear be your language of love?

How does fear keep you from loving like Jesus?

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So I have a LOT of “favorite” things…. Here are my favorite things this week!! 🙂 Comment!! I want to read your favorite list!!:)

What I’m listening to:

The National

Mumford & Sons

Vampire Weekend

Flyleaf

What I’m watching…

30 Rock

David Series on Hulu

Gladiator

IronMan 2

What I’m podcasting..

Click name to read more about each!

Tim Keller

Jimmy Evans

North Ministry

Jim Gaffigan

What I’m sporting…

Red…ish hair

Pony Tail

Nose hoop

New Nails

What I’m LOVING…

Husband

Corgi

Colossians 2

Vacation
(Denver)

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Sometimes I really struggle to see the big picture. Does anyone else struggle with that? Sometimes, especially during hard times, it’s hard to see reality from the vantage point of eternity.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons that we love books and movies and plays. We are certainly primarily entertained by stories. Think about it. I think it’s safe to say that every culture and race on the face of this earth past and present has a concept of storytelling. Let’s face it, stories entertain us. We love the ups and downs. We love the passion and the romance. We love the conquer and adventure. We love the idea of journeys. We love finding the treasure. We love the good and the evil. We love seeing the broad prospective, finishing an amazing story. We love a good message behind a story, one we can lay on top of our own lives. We love the idea of an alternate world were everything turns out right.

Humanity loves a good story. Why? Why does it transcend time and culture? Why can you attend college and receive degrees studying and teaching and learning stories? (I did)

I think I know why, and I think you do too. Stories are built into us. Stories (like beauty..) speak an eternal language to our souls.

See whether you realize it or not, somewhere in your subconscious is a standard of understand. It can’t be a learned understanding, or not everyone wouldn’t have it. It’s clearly instinctual. In the same way you don’t have to tell your heart to beat each moment, you were born with this idea of the story hand-crafted into your soul. Deep in our hearts we all know we are just the damsel in distress.

See stories ALL share a few defining characteristics. (Read about it on Wikipedia HERE)

They ALL have characters, settings, and plots. And they ALL follow a certain flow of structure: problem, conflict, solution.

Though problem, conflict, and solution are seen in different ways, they often look like: love, journey, mystery, bondage, freedom, new life, other realities, rescues, redemption, adventure, treasure, messages, good and evil, healing, birth, life, death, growing old, beauty, quest

And all stories have another thing, an author. Authors of stories are outside of the plot, unseen to the eye, but there are signs of the author everywhere. Everything seems to point to them. And as you observe and listen, you can nearly hear his voice. To the naked eye the author remains invisible, but the more you read the story you begin to know the character of the one who writes. The author will remain unseen unless he writes himself into the story.

My sweet friends, you are part of a grand story, and its so much bigger than anything you could ever imagine. God is the author. He created the world in a brilliant outburst of love. That’s why stories are in our hearts. And when we chose to rebel against our author, and call ourselves our own god, our own authors. God chose to write a love story. He didn’t decide down the road that He better help us because we were just too stupid to fix ourselves. He decided RIGHT THEN that He loved us too much to be separated from us by our own sin and mistakes and pride.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (English Standard Version)

11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

He decided then to write Himself into the story. He didn’t come to rule and punish and terrorize. He wrote Himself into the story so that we could see Him. He revealed Himself to us. He came as the hero, to save, redeem, restore, romance our hearts, rescue, heal, forgive, and give us a new life. He set us free and called us up out of what we once were into a new and better life. He fought for us and saved us from darkness, and clothed us with His own righteousness. Once a damsel, now a princess.

He humbly died, and He took every wrong choice, every pain, and every sorrow on his own shoulders. He took care of it. He took our punishment. And when we thought it was all over, and he was dead and gone. He came back. He was raised from the dead. And He is coming back again.

Romans 5:5-8
5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This is not just a good story. This is good news.

We don’t understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, because we like good stories. The gospel of Jesus Christ is hidden deep within every soul of every person that has every walked the face of this earth. And we love stories because we are in one. You were born for this. This story is your purpose in life. God loves you. Your life is a love story.

The end.

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Think about your life:

-Do you see the big picture, the story?
-Do you realize that this life doesn’t revolve around you, it revolves around Him!
-Are you living your life as part of the adventure with Jesus, or are you wasting it with things that won’t last?
-Is your life a love story back to Him? Or are you happy being a damsel in distress, never wanting to be rescued?

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Check out this podcast by my husband, David, if you want more about this topic. This is an amazing sermon he preached right before we got married called “The Story of the Universe. I listened to it again as I prayed over this blog post. Click here to listen!

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I like these little Thursday blogs. I like them so much I think I’ll name them….
BITI-BLOGS!! (If you are from Amarillo, you will know that my inspiration comes directly from the deliciousness of Biti-pies)

Friends of this A White Stone Blog, did you know that we are a community? Yes, that’s right, a community. If this blog was all about my problems, my life, and my sass that would be one thing, but its not. We are sharing life here. Each week this blog gets over 300+ hits, and as you can see we are racking up the views here since January 1, 2010.

Now that would not be happening if it was all about me, obviously there is much more to it. Yes, and that much more is YOU!! Every week I receive facebook and twitter messages, emails, and comment posts where people share their own insights, experiences, and lives on this blog.

I LOVE hearing from you. Keep it coming!! And be bold, what you think and say really matters. Please write a comment and respond. That’s what this is all about.

So every now and again, I’m going to interview some of YOU! Here are a few A White Stone Blog Community members. chics are readers and responders. I asked them to answer a few questions, and here’s what they said…
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Meghan

Name and Family: My name is Meghan (= My family is Zach, my husband, Grace, 3, Grant, 2, and Gretchen, 8 months (my children).

Age and Location: I am 26 years old and live in Bremen, Ohio.

What is God saying to you now in your life: The verse that keeps coming to my mind lately, in whatever I am going through, is Philippians 4:8. A perfect reminder to let your self talk always be positive and life giving.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What is your favorite thing about summer: My favorite thing about summer is sitting on my parents porch, in one of the rockers, and just chatting with my family while all the grandkids catch lightning bugs(=(=.

Why are you a part of A White Stone Blog: Why do I like whitestone blog? It is the perfect balance of spirituality and silliness(=. I think we as Christians need to not be so serious all the time. Jesus told us to have faith like a child. Kate, you have a child like faith that is very intoxicating. So, that is what your blog is to me…..a dose of child like faith. Thanks for listening to God and sharing your heart(=.

(Personal Note: I can’t remember my life not knowing Meghan!! 🙂 She’s an incredible woman, and I love her!! )

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Ladies and Gentlemen:

Stephanie

Name: Stephanie
Age: 22
Lives in: West Texas

~Right now I’m reading “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”. I’ve always admired him and the way he lived his life completely sold out for Christ. As I read through the pages of this amazing man’s journey, I am inspired by how he strives every moment to be in the Lord’s presence. It’s so simple to Taylor…when he’s not in the presence of God he may have all the things he could ever want and find himself miserable, but in His presence he could have absolutely nothing and yet be completely satisfied. Just like Paul in Phil 3:8, “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.” I have to ask myself, ‘Am I living every moment in surrender to Him? to show others that Christ is my greatest treasure?’ My answer is not always ‘yes’, but oh how I want it to be!

~My favorite thing about summer is the evening time…There is just something about the light that causes everything to glow and look so beautiful! After a long day of hard work, the best thing is to sit out with your friends & family with some sweet tea and watermelon and enjoy those perfect evenings 🙂

~A White Stone Blog is so refreshing! I am always so encouraged by the words I read on the screen, whether it is a solid truth that I needed to be reminded of, a beautiful and humbling testimony, or a much needed laugh. It’s full of life and reminds us that Jesus is in every aspect of our lives.

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Introducing…

Wakanyi

Name- Wakanyi , family names- husband- Chris, Vera, Noah

Age and Location- I am 29, Chris is 33, Vera is 4, and Noah is 18 months.
We currently live in the Philippines, south of metro Manila, in a quaint suburb called Alabang.

What is God saying to you now in your life: verse that has touched me lately and has helped answer some of our recent struggles- Deut 33:25, “The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days.” This verse is important to me as it has helped me calm down more when facing things that are beyond me or are in the hands of other people. My husband travels a lot, we are living in a foreign country while raising two little kids who rely on us for everything. There are challenges that come with this (although the rewards of being an expatriate far out-number the challenges). Sometimes there are cultural issues that baffle me and can easily send me into a hypertensive state on a daily basis. We move from country to country a LOT. That has it’s own effects on all of us- the kids having to say goodbye to friends formed, Chris and I having to adjust to a new life somewhere and trying to maintain some form of stability for us and the children, and it can get to you. So this verse is a clear reminder that whatever I may be going through on any particular day, or period in our lives, that the Lord has already provided me with the exact strength required to deal with those particular challenges.

What I like about summer- well!!!! It is summer all year around here in the Philippines :). I love being outdoors walking. I walk a lot, and so summer to me is reminiscent of long walks and flowing dresses. And sweet corn in the States!! :))

What I like about A White Stone Blog. It’s a no brainer! This blog speaks to me, as a woman, with no pretenses. It is like a conversation going through my mind that you, Kate, have been gifted with the ability to articulate in words.

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Meet…

Hannah

Family: Kim and Dale parents, Derek brother
Age: 20
Home: Albany, NY

Verse: “And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” – 1 Corinthians 15:14-19
I’ve really been impressed lately about the importance of the resurrection. Upon the foundation of the resurrection of Christ we lay out faith. Without the resurrection our faith is useless.

Summer: NO HOMEWORK! And also not shivering everyday is wonderful. New York can be quite awful for skinny people like me 😦

Why White Stone: I love reading the blog because it’s real and I can really relate to the content. I love the honesty and transparency because I feel a lot of Christians like to avoid talking about their struggles and insecurities. However as Christians we should really be all the more motivated to be honest with each other and build each other up. We’re all in the same boat, we all struggle we all fall and we need each other. I feel like the blog is a great place for that type of exchange. Hey God has called us to a life of community and we all desperately need that to stay grounded so why not take advantage of that anywhere you can find it?

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And last, but certainly not least…

Erica

Names: Erica ; my current family is my mom- Karri, my dad- Cinco, and my sister- Hilary. In less than a month, I have the extreme pleasure of marrying the love of my life, Preston and forming the beginning of our own family!

Age: I’m 22 years old

Location: I live in Amarillo, TX

Erica Snyder; my current family is my mom- Karri, my dad- Cinco, and my sister- Hilary. In less than a month, I have the extreme pleasure of marrying the love of my life, Preston and forming the beginning of our own family!

I’m 22 years old

I live in Amarillo, TX

What God is teaching you right now: It’s been a season of change for me, and it only gets more intense from here! The scripture that is on my heart a lot of the time is Psalm 46:10. But really, just the first line of it: “Be still and know that I am God” With everything that’s changing, uncertain, etc. right now, this scripture has been my sanity. I love the simplicity of the words coupled with the depth of what they mean. I’m constantly in high motion, going a million miles a minute. The unfortunate part of that is often my mind is moving a lot faster than reality and I find myself questioning things, fearing things, etc. That’s when this scripture finds its way into my mind, and I find God’s peace.

My favorite thing about summer is: definitely the freedom of no school! That freedom includes: relationships and spending time with people I love, snow cones, swimming, spending time outdoors, vacations! 😀 I love summer.

Why do you like A White Stone Community: I’ve found that I’ve either been through what you are talking about or am currently experiencing it. Your words are always encouraging! I also like to read the comments and see what God is doing in other lives throught A White Stone Blog.
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Now I want to hear from you!! Join these women and post your answers to the same questions I asked them… (oh, and by the way, I know that you all are very different, different ages, stages of life and live in different locations…..some of you are men. I think that’s awesome. I want to here from everyone!)

1. Name & Family
2. Age
3. Location…where you call home
4. What is God saying to you right now, or current verse of mediation
5. Favorite thing about summer
6. Why you are a part of A White Stone Community

See ya Sunday! ☺

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Have you ever gone through a season where an area of your life drives you completely nuts? I am going through one of those seasons in my life right now. It feels like I wake up every morning and this big, monster mountain is staring me right in the face. It’s something I know I have to deal with, but the craziest part about it is I know I can’t grit my teeth and deal with it on my own.

The issue is insecurity.

Now you may meet me on the streets of life and think there is no way I struggle with insecurity. I mean I’m pretty outgoing and fairly confident.

I’m certainly not shy. But I would like to take this opportunity to say, I deeply struggle with insecurity. And I’d venture to bet that I’m probably not the only person reading these words staring this mountain in the face.

Every person in world has inherent relational needs. Those needs are hidden deep within the very core of who we are. When those needs are met, guess what we feel? INTIMACY…LOVE.

Do you know what the greatest need of a woman is? Security. The language of love for every woman is security. Think about it. What do you desire out of romance and love? Being found worthy and enough. Being worth someone fighting for you. Assurance. Affirmation. Deep lasting love. Closeness. Faithfulness. You fill in the blank, but it will nearly all wrap around the idea of security. We are constantly asking am I ok, am I enough, am I safe, and is our love secure.

Here’s the thing, in this fallen world full of hurt, pain, and sin, the message we always receive is “No”. Even in the sweetest, healthiest relationships, no earthly person can love perfectly. Only Perfect Love can tell our hearts the perfect message. Only God can send us the message of complete truth. You are secure. You are perfectly loved. You are worthy. You were worth fighting for, and in fact, worth dying for.

This doesn’t mean we give up all love and relationships. It means this, ladies, get your deepest need met in the loving arms of Jesus. Trust in His love for you. Find your security in Him by trusting in Him. Run to Him first. He will make you secure.

True insecurity is not being shy. True insecurity is simply not being secure. We will always look to something or someone to tell us that we are ok or enough. Look to someone who will never let you down.

It is only when you begin to be secure in God, that you can truly give love away. Insecurity is marked by fear, clinginess, worry, busyness, perfectionism, comparison, obsession, the inability to sit still, and always needing something from the people who are your friends, family, boyfriends, and husbands. True security is marked by bold, passionate, selfless love.

I recently finished this book:

This was my first book by Beth Moore, and it certainly won’t be my last. I loved it.
Check out the first chapter of the book here. (Scroll down the the first chapter, “Mad Enough To Change”.

I promise you after you read the first chapter, you won’t be able to stop. I think every woman (and man for that matter) should read it. She walks you the process of finding where your lack of security stems from and how to receive healing from the Lord. I can’t say enough good things about it, all I can do is HIGHLY recommend it! You will never be the same!

I would also like to recommend an amazing sermon by my pastor Jimmy Evans. Pastor Jimmy and his wife Karen have an amazing renown ministry, “Marriage Today.” His latest sermon series is called Real Relationships, and his sermon this week hit me square between the eyes. Check it out here.

Check these resources out!!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!!

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SHOUT OUT!!

Shout out to my amazing husband!!! David is the most brilliant person I know. He’s an incredible husband and pastor. For several years he has been working full-time and chipping away at his college degree, and this weekend he graduated from West Texas A&M University with a degree in English! I am so proud of him!! 🙂

For more pictures from this weekend check out my “Day to Day” page 🙂

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High Five Thursday

I would like to take this opportunity to pass out some “high five” all around to people, places, and things that I think are amazing!

(I don’t know these people…but whatever)
HIGH FIVE!

First person I would like to take the opportunity to HighFive is my MOMMA!

I have an amazing mom. She has prayed for me, led me, sacrificed for me, and loved me. I don’t know any woman that I value more than this one. I am who I am today because of my momma.
High Five Mom!! And Happy Mother’s Day! I love you so much!

While I’m at it, I’d like to HIGH FIVE another amazing woman, my mother-in-law, Julie! She is one amazing woman!! Being so far away from my mom is so very hard, and so many times I know I couldn’t have done it without this amazing woman of God loving and supporting me. Thank you Momma Ritchie! Happy Mother’s Day! HIGH FIVE!

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And while I’m HIGH FIVE’n amazing people, I’d like to throw up a high five to my sweet friends, Joey and Melissa.

I can’t begin to express how much this couple means to me. They have been friends in my life that have truly shown me the friendship of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your unconditional love and friendship in this life. Having you all as friends strengthens my walk with Jesus, my marriage, and makes life so much more fun along the way!


HIGH FIVES!!
And HIGH FIVE to their amazing photography!!
Check out their incredible photography business!! They are so good at what they do!

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I would also like to do some “Honorable Mention” HIGH FIVES in da blog today!

HIGH FIVE!!!

The wonderful town of Canyon, Texas!!
I love living in your town Canyon!! I know that life is not about a town defining me as cool, but about truly LIVING and BEING with the people in my life. Small-town-America, Canyon, Texas, I’m proud to live there!! HIGH FIVE!

Sno-Cones!! What a delicious summer treat! Enough said. HIGH FIVE TO SNO-CONES!

And last, but certainly not least. I would like to take this opportunity to send out a high five to all the beards out there. Yes, that’s right, beards. Thank you beards, for giving our men that rustic, “I just chopped down a tree” vibe. Because when it comes to men, a clean boy face just won’t do. And kissing scruff is about like taking a rake to my precious, freckle face. Thank you beards for making our men more sexy. HIGH FIVE BEARDS!!!!!

THANK YOU, THAT IS ALL!

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