Cupcakes and Sunshine

Sunday, August 28, 2016

13 Things I've Learned this Week....

1. I'm going to be sticking around Dallas for a little while, so I should (maybe) slow down on trying out all. the. places...

H&G Sply Co
 (someone hold me back for real)

Ascension Coffee

Velvet Taco
2. New brunch friends are the best friends though

2. Groupon is also your best friend

3. There is so much to do here I can't even believe it

4. I'm addicted to this stuff:

5. This is my view every time I go to buy groceries. I can deal.
Or maybe I can't deal.
I love this.

(**also, you shouldn't take pictures while driving. teehee)

6. If you try Spotify Premium for a week, no matter the circumstances after, you will be spoiled and have to purchase a Spotify subscription.

7.  I may need a puppy.

8. Maybe the grass really is greener:

9. I miss these girlies a LOT:

10. I don't know anything about Dallas sports teams, so until someone talks me into cheering on a team (SOS help) and getting some fan gear, I'm still reppin' Athens I Love You t's.

11. I'll be hanging around here a lot!!

12. The Lord is faithful. And love is a commitment. (the porch) Thankful the Lord chose ME and chose YOU and is committed to loving me and you, so we can commit to loving relationships. God is GOOD.

13. So thankful for the prayers, notes, texts, calls, (snapchats), and more this week. My heart is so stinking full. and life is so stinking good. I feel like I'm living the dream for real!! I can't stop smiling. thank you Jesus! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

names, not numbers

I'm currently sitting in the middle of Dallas, eating a sandwich, and pretending I know how to navigate these new highways. amen for Maps. and Waze. (all the praise hand emojis for these actually). I wish you were sitting in the car with me right now, because I'm sure we'd probably be laughing real, real hard about how many u-turns and re-routes were just made to grab this sandwich. It's fun though. & all sandwiches here come with guac. & it doesn't even cost extra!! Tex-Mex for the win!

These past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of all the feels and emotions. A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut by someone new to me in Athens- Danny. I was walking downtown and decided to stop in and get a haircut real quick for convenience-sake.

He asked me what I was planning on doing post-grad and I told him I was moving to Dallas in three weeks to go to Dallas Theological Seminary and do some marketing for Chick-fil-a.

His reply- "Whatever you do...just do not fall in love here in Athens. in the next three weeks. That would suck." -Danny's life advice

Homesickness hit me hard for Athens the following week and I hadn't even left town yet! I'd be lying if I said I hadn't driven by our old house everyday since the day our lease was up just to see it and remember and relive those days all over again. (& to watch the sunset because the sunset views & community 100% make up for our old house's lacking infrastructure and working appliances)

One of these drive-by days, Nat King Cole's Unforgettable came on and I about lost it. Because in these three weeks I have realized I've fallen in love with Athens! (Thanks Danny) & even though the song doesn't really have to do with finishing up school and new chapters, it does have to do with life and love and makes you all sappy inside dang it!

I've tried avoiding most eye contact and introductions in Athens recently because I just don't want to become anymore attached!! NO ONE HUG ME, I WILL CRY. (but actually do- just expect some tears)

BUT- I am so, so thankful to have people and a city and so many that have made saying "see you soon" so difficult. These past years have truly been Unforgettable.

Every other time I'm in the car, the song Indescribable has been playing. I feel lately, God has really been showing me...HEY. I've got you. DO YOU NOT REALIZE I HAVE PLACED THE STARS IN THE SKY AND I KNOW THEM BY NAME?! And I know YOU BY NAME?! I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU!!  He has reminded me of this constantly in the craziest ways. including a dream job in Texas while I'm in seminary:

This job came about in a really cool way too. One morning, I woke up really early at my aunt and uncle's house and just felt desperate to ask Jesus that if Texas was his plan for me, then why was finding a job so difficult? I went outside and sat on their porch and prayed...LORD JUST MAKE THIS JOB-FINDING PROCESS AND MOVE EASY IF THIS IS YOUR PLAN. (I have journals that say this! In capital letters and all!)

A few minutes later, I received a text (this is for real- I can not make this stuff up) from a Texas family who I had talked to about renting from months before- asking me if I would still be interested in renting from them in the fall. I told them no, I was actually looking for a job first, but I'd get back with them about housing. We talked a bit more...little did I know that the guy I was talking to was looking to hire in marketing! I had a phone interview a week later, and got the job!! God is so good. (and so is working for the cows!)


A few weeks ago, my Grandfather Sterling sent this picture to me that he took on one of his many trips out west, and I have looked at it every day since!

1. How cool is my Grandfather Sterling for taking this picture? (he's 70 btw)


2. HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD WHO PLACED THESE STARS IN THE SKY AND HE KNOWS THEM BY NAME? These stars aren't just numbers. They have names. And He knows them. And you aren't just a number. You have a name. And HE KNOWS IT. Indescribable.

When I stepped off the plane in Dallas a few days ago, I started thinking...what am I doing?! Is this right!? Lord, am I in the right place!?!?!?!?! Because no one in Texas is bleeding red and black (go dawgs) currently, and this feels funny.

A few months ago, I really started praying about seminary in Dallas and if it was the right next step for me. And every time, the Lord has just said YES. repeatedly. And I keep saying NO and denying it, until He pushes me forward again. I don't think I've ever felt more tunnel-visioned about a next step.

Back to stepping off the airplane in Dallas- I was freaking out! On the outside, I probably looked like I knew what I was doing and that I knew exactly where to grab my bags and a ride into the city. But on the inside, I was a total hot mess. I started praying about and for my uber driver (specifically that he wouldn't be crazy and creepy tbh) since I was about to spend the next 30-40 minutes in the car with this person. (and praying that he wasn't a killer. at this point I was running on a 3:00am wake-up-call and lots of coffee, so dramatic thoughts and fears that my uber driver was a killer were real high)

I saw that the uber driver's name was "Dady" on my phone before he pulled up to DFW airport and I laughed a little to myself because just a few weeks ago, I stayed at Madame Dady's guest home in Haiti, which was one of the best trips of my life. A small reassurance and head-nod that I was in the right place....surely though, Dallas uber driver Dady couldn't be from Haiti...because that would just be a crazy coincidence! But then, uber driver Dady pulled up and I recognized his accent INSTANTLY.

He probably was way more anxious than I was initially when I yelled, "DADY, ARE YOU FROM HAITI?!!?!?!" as soon as he grabbed and loaded my bags. "I HAVE VISITED HAITI A FEW TIMES!! IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES!!!" He had moved to Dallas from Haiti 7 years before. And then I just about cried in the backseat of the uber out of happiness and he just about cried in the front seat out of happiness and then we both cried because we were laughing about life and Jesus and home.

We started speaking a little bit of creole and talking about Haiti and Haitian food. AND about how each night in Haiti, our team would sit rooftop at Madame Dady's and look at the stars and talk about life and Jesus and home.

Reassurance. Unforgettable. Indescribable.

& here we both were... so far away, yet home away from home, in the middle of 8:00am Dallas traffic!

Before my first trip to Haiti, I had the same feelings I've been having about Dallas.... doubts, insecurities, what-ifs, and countless is-this-right's?!?!! But the Lord continuously reassured me and said... HEY I'VE GOT YOU. And the few times I've gone to Haiti have been the most unforgettable, indescribable trips I could have imagined! I've met many people and many new names on these trips.

Lately, my good friend Alex has been reminding me of Ephesians 3:20...

"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."

Immeasurably more!! These past four years in Athens have been the best years of my life...and the LORD STILL PROMISES IMMEASURABLY MORE

And I think sometimes that means a few u-turns. Sometimes it means a few re-routes. Sometimes it means some Texas BBQ with new friends and names: 

I'm actually on my way back to Athens today for a few more days before I make the permanent move out west. But WOW IS MY HEART SO FULL AND EXCITED. So thankful for the names I've met. So thankful for the names to come. So thankful that our Lord continuously shows us immeasurably more in crazy unexpected ways. like a few sunsets. and a few stars. and a few sides of guac. 

Reassuringly unforgettable and indescribable.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

If we were having coffee right now....

whoah, whoah, whoah. long time, no see! So I'm giving away a super cool t-shirt to make up for it after our coffee date :)

If we were having coffee right now...
I'd tell you I couldn't sleep this morning so I picked some coffee up for us and watched the sunrise on the drive back home. (then spilled said coffee all over at a sudden red light. oops! true story)

Talking about true stories and driving- if we were having coffee right now....
I'd confess that I got pulled over for the first time a few days ago.

Sometimes we drive in circles around the neighborhood because the song's too good and summer  is too short.

Sometimes we drive in circles around the neighborhood because the conversations are too good and life is too short.

Sometimes it takes some blue lights and conversations with patrol officers to teach you that driving in circles around and around makes you look like you're up to no good.

Conversations with the officer went like this:

(to set up the scene: it's midnight and the blue lights pulled us over after doing about 14 leisurely loops around the neighborhood with roommate Alex) 

Roommate Alex: "It's okay Haley. Don't freak out. We're okay. We're not doing anything. We're just talking."
*police walks up to car window*
Officer: "Excuse me maaa'am, but can ya tell me why you are going 'round and 'round the neighborhood?"
Me: "I'm so, so sorry!! We were just chatting about life! and um... having some girl talk!!"
*officer laughs*
Police: "Well you're scaring the neighbors. You need to ride home and park it."

*police on patrol mic. cue southern country accent*
Kcccshhhhfuzzzfuzzz "Nooope, I don't need backup. Just a res-i-daint and her girlfraaand ridin' in circles havin' some 'girl-talk'"

LOLOLOLOL. oops. #notadelinquent
cue end of neighborhood circles since then. #sorryneighbors

If we were having coffee...
I'd ask you what your favorite moving/packing foods are. I'd have to say pizza and pb&js are the most perfect moving foods. Should I change the blog name to pizza and pb&js?! Because both make up 99.9% of my diet right now.

If we were having coffee...
I'd tell you I actually just lied. Because ice-cream makes up about 99.9% percent of my diet right now too. So now I'm a liar and a delinquent. dang it!

If we were having coffee right now...
I'd tell you Athens, Georgia has my heart...and I might just cry a few tears. A few weeks ago, I told someone that I thought I'd always be a traveler and I never thought I'd settle in one place. Fast forward ONE day. I was sitting in an Athens Church service when I realized... I'm in love with Athens! It hit me. I love everything about this city! So incredibly thankful for this town and the people in it. Sometimes I get really excited about a new move ahead, but sometimes my heart aches because I feel it is HERE too! Jesus keeps reminding me of Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

The best is yet to come- I know it and He says so and I'm so excited to see how these plans unfold!

If we were having coffee right now, I'd ask you what Spotify playlists you recommend?! 
I FINALLY GOT SPOTIFY after one of my tenth graders told me I was a Grandma for not having it. And it has changed my life. PB&Js+ John Mayer=best packing combo. With a side of Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, and Jonas. #nolongeragrandma

And I'd conclude our coffee date asking if you've heard of So Worth Loving

I first heard about So Worth Loving a few years back at Passion. It is an incredible company with a powerful message: Love You- Love People because YOU are So Worth Loving. Empowering businesses are my favorite, and this is a good one!!(check out some more here)

So Worth Loving sent me a t-shirt to giveaway to YOU! All you have to do is enter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

& be sure to check out all of their other great t's and fun things! 

HEY! This coffee date has been fun. Let's do it again real soon :) Happy Tuesday, friends! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

summer advice!

 Just a little advice on how to have the very best summer: 

Start weekdays with waffles...

...and follow up with new weekly traditions:

Party like it's 1999...

...all the time.

Travel new places...

 &... new faces. 

Treat yourself to movie nights and popcorn, 

 dress up for the occasion,

...and have meaningful conversations with your royal and loyal friends:

Dream big, worry small. 

 Celebrate often,

& eat lots and lots of ice-cream :) 

Happy, happy summertime friends!

Monday, June 6, 2016

wild and free

Our oven and stove have been out of commission for a week now. The old protectant coating on the "element" of our electric oven caught fire last week (due to the oven's old age- not my baking skills...just had to throw that in!) when I was preheating it for a batch of double chocolate chip brownies and a giant spark/firework-like display resulted in some dramatic sirens, a big red truck, 6 firefighters through our front door, (some background singing of nelly's hot in here), and an oversized bowl of brownie batter that had to be eaten with a spoon while watching this whole thing play out. (dang it)

Y'all. Not having an oven has been the hardest thing! If you've read my "about me" I cook and bake all. the. time. probably obsessively. (oops) It's therapy and fun and results in some delicious meals occasionally! Since the oven/stove tragedy, I don't think I've ever had so many meals out. (thank you Mellow Mushroom & Chick-fil-a & Barberitos. y'all are the real VIPs)

But without an oven, I've realized I have so much more time to do other things! No more planning what to cook, no more cooking, and no more kitchen to tidy. Instead, I've been able to fly through some incredible books that have set my HEART ON FIRE and I think you should add them to your summer reading list as well!

First up: Wild and Free: A Hope-filled Anthem for the Woman who Feels She is Both Too Much and Never Enough

Usually, I'm a morning time quiet time person. There's nothing better than the sunrise, front porch, and a cup of warm coffee....

...but I've had a lot of additional free time to read in the afternoons now too! And Wild and Free has been so good for my heart both mornings and afternoons, YOU MAY WANT TO ADD IT TO YOUR AMAZON CART RIGHT NOW!

Last year, I was in a meeting with my work team and I specifically remember saying... I just feel like too much and not enough and I feel pulled in all directions because of it. I'm pretty sure I shed some tears in my car on the way home that day because insecurities are real and set us back from living in freedom. When I first heard about Wild and Free, I Prime-shipped it so it could arrive at my front door asap. The enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy. and so often, I feel controlled by these feelings. But the enemy has been defeated! and Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan highlight so many truths in Wild and Free that kick this control to the curb!

 ^^BOOM. So good.

Sometimes I feel so set back by my insecurities and lack of freedom- thinking about what other people will think of me, not beginning a project because it won't be good enough, fears in not succeeding or knowing what steps to take. fears, insecurities, worries, anxiety. These limitations have put us in a box and have resulted in us putting God in a box. But He can do immeasurably more!! and He has created us to do good works because of His son that died on the cross for us! Ultimate freedom.

"Our life in Jesus means we're made righteous and have no need for shame or fear of sin."

God's freedom allows us to be Wild and Free because His perfect love for us casts out all fear!

"Contained, terrified living is not the kind of life Christ died for me to live." 

A few weeks ago, I read about a great way to memorize scripture so that I can take it with me and remember truth when I feel the insecurities and lies creeping in.

"Put On The Full Armor of God So You Can Take Your Stand Against The Devil's Schemes" -Ephesians 6:11.

This verse has been on my hand and heart and with me for the past few days and has reminded me daily to fight the good fight and live in freedom.

So friends, grab this book. Write down a verse. and remind yourself to live in freedom because YOU have been won by perfect love.  Happy, happy Monday!

Other book reviews:


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