The Outcome of a Refreshed Soul // Love Fully

Friday, November 27, 2015

With the early winter air comes a certain chill and dimness that can dampen a spirit. We huddle in our homes with hot chocolate and a crackling fire and complain about the cold. We dream of summer and yearn for spring. The cold never bothers me, though, because there's something about the chilly air that sends a message of hope. Leaves fall off  trees, but they still dance in the wind. The trees are bare, but still very much alive. The pines hold their green, and against the bareness of everything else they look their best yet. I love winter, not just because of warm sweaters and fuzzy socks, but because of the hope that clings to us so closely.

Things will get better; I promise. 

People go through winters sometimes. We close our hearts and stop blooming, refusing to reach out to anyone. Those wonderful pines, though, the ever-true evergreens, the people of hope, reach out. I've encountered quite a few of these evergreens lately, and they've been a huge blessing. This holiday season these evergreens have reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving morning we six Reids boarded our Chevy Traverse at 6:34 a.m. with coffee, Pop Tarts, lots of blankets, and my camera in hand. We drove to Cades Cove, a wildlife reserve in Townsend, Tennessee, and watched cotton candy clouds rise above the Great Smoky Mountains. 

It was a simple journey, but it was enough. My depleted soul was looking for refreshment, and the reminder that God is always in control was exactly what I needed.

- (excuse the blurriness; I had my telephoto, manual focus lens attached with no tripod.) -

We drove through the eleven mile loop twice, making sure I was able to adequately capture the true beauty we saw. Though the pictures don’t do it justice, I am pleased with how they turned out. We were able to get right next to a group of turkeys. They were monstrous, and the way the sun shone on their feathers was beautiful. I was able to get probably ten or fifteen yards from a huge buck, and though I’ve seen more than my share of whitetail deer in my lifetime, this one was the biggest yet. 

- two turkeys on turkey day. how about that?-

We then hiked to Abrams falls, a “moderately difficult 3-4 hour” hike that we were able to accomplish in two and a half hours.  The view was stunning. Several times I found myself humming How Great Thou Art because of the awe I felt. God’s beauty and power was so evident in these moments. My soul was full, and because of that I was driven to worship. It amazes me that the very thing we do to glorify the Lord we cannot do on our own. God places the desire to worship Him in our hearts. Without His help, we cannot even give thanks to Him. 

We drove home with renewed souls and tired legs. (If I were to be honest, I’d have to say that they still are a little sore.) God started accomplishing a little heart-work within me at that moment, and I haven’t been able to shake it since.

These past few days God has reminded me just how dependent upon Him I really am. I need Him for the most monotonous things – every breath I breathe is borrowed from Him – yet I only call upon Him in times of distress.  During and after the terrorist attacks on Paris, the hashtag “pray for Paris” was trending. The world called out to God that night. If only we could realize that we need God every single day, not just during wars or terrorist attacks or times of distress. I need God when I wake up in the mornings. I need God to have the strength to go to school with a joyful heart. I need God to stand up in front of a whole classroom of people and tell them all that He has done for them (more on that later). I am foreverin need of God. I need His grace on good days and bad. I still need His grace when I get up and read my Bible and pray. I need His grace when all I have time to do is throw on a t-shirt and jeans and grab coffee to-go. I alwaysneed God, and this week He has communicated to me just how much I need to live in His grace.

I went into our little cabin’s small bedroom last night knowing I should talk to God, but I picked up a book instead: The Discipline of Grace, a book that was a “stretch goal” for my summer internship, but I never got around to reading it. Jerry Bridges, by God’s power, convicted me of something. My lack of loving others.

I’ve always thought I was pretty good at loving. My church family always tells me how much I smile, and I know that’s by God’s grace alone. People at school call me a “sweet girl,” and I never really doubted it. But last night I realized just how much I needed to start loving others. Jerry Bridges put this list together adapted off of First Corinthians 13:4-7:

·         I am patientwith you because I love you and want to forgive you.
·         I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
·         I do not envy you because I love you and want you to have the best.
·         I do not boast about my attainments because I love you and want to hear about yours.
·         I am not proud because I love you and want to esteem you before myself.
·         I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
·         I am not self-seeking because I love youand want to meet your needs.
·         I am not easily angered because I love youand want to overlook your offenses.
·         I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you and “love covers a multitude of sins.”

Are you letting God’s love manifest itself in your life this much?  I know I’m not. I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be this selfless, and I know none of us can all the time. However, with God’s grace in our lives, anything is possible, and if we depend on Him to love like this and let others know that it’s God’s love we’re showing and not ours, it is beyond possible. 

Next week life starts back up again. I have two weeks of school then a week of midterms, and then Christmas break. But I know those three weeks will drag by, perhaps slower than than the whole school year combined. Will you start asking God for the grace to love others this much? Comment below if you're in. I'll keep you updated here as well as on Instagram at @thereidwhowritesblog and @mur_shells ! As Christians, we are supposed to be people of love. Will you be known for God's love shining through you?

The Liebster Award // discover new blogs!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

[image credit]
I was nominated by Olivia Knight over at Summer of 1999 for the Liebster Blogger Award! Thanks, Olivia, for nominating me!

I actually get to type this tonight because I have no homework!!! For the first time in like three months. Legit. Hope you enjoy the questions below! I had fun answering them :)


1. Who is your favorite teacher you've had so far and why?

This is a really hard question, just to put that out there. I've had so many great teachers. My preschool teachers will always hold a special place in my heart. They were always so understanding with me, and they put up with me even though I cried every day. (They called me "tender-hearted.")

2. What do you do to destress?

I have to destress way too often, as in every day after school. I pour myself a nice strong cup of coffee and just chill. "Chilling" is usually writing or playing the piano, and on occasion going outside to shoot some photos.

3. What is the first book you remember reading? or If you could choose one children's book to read to your child which would it be?


"In the great green room 
There was a telephone 
And a red balloon 
And a picture of
The cow jumping over the moon 
And there were three little bears sitting on chairs 
And two little kittens 
And a pair of mittens 
And a little toy house 
And a young mouse 
And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush 
And a quiet old lady who was whispering “hush” 
Goodnight room 
Goodnight moon"

I am seriously getting the feels right now.

4. What is the last item you purchased?

I just recently went shopping with madre and bought some fall/winter clothes, but I believe I paid five dollars for a youth group t-shirt yesterday. Does that count??

5. When and how does your family first begin to celebrate Christmas (if you do)?

My family loves Christmas. As soon as we can, after Thanksgiving, we go get a tree at Hilltop Christmas Tree Farm in Six Mile. There's a man there who looks like santa. And they give out hot chocolate free of charge. And it's altogether magical. Then, we take it home and put it up, and then we lay all our ornaments out on the dining room table and slowly but surely decorate the tree. (If we had an "official" decorating time, there wouldn't be a time where everyone could be there at once. We're always in different directions.) On Christmas morning, we have Christmas brunch instead of Christmas dinner, and then we pretty much just hang out after we open gifts and such. We're a laid back family. But before any of this happens, we begin to listen to Christmas music. We're enjoying that right now. I started November first, by the way.

6. If you could choose to have any color hair, what would it be?

I've always wanted red hair. My last name actually means "red," and it was likely started because someone way back when had red hair. My hair is almost auburn, but not quite. It's honestly just a mix of everything, to be honest. But I would love to have red hair.

7. Favorite movie that has come out in the last year (or two, whatevs)?

I loved the recent Cinderella movie. Except I missed the part where the prince's father dies, and when I came back into the theater, I had no idea what was going on. But it was a great movie. "Have courage, and be kind." Always.

8. Favorite book of the bible and short bit on why?

Wow, this is hard. Like really hard. I loved Hebrews when I read through it. But I also love Romans. And all of the gospels. And then there's Ruth and Esther, which, being a girl, I also love. UGH. I just can't answer this question for the life of me. 

Okay, I've decided (though it's subject to change): Ruth. I love the way the story progresses and how Ruth keeps her faith. I think it's a beautiful picture of God's love for us and His faithfulness through everything we go through. God has a greater plan, and I love seeing that illustrated in Ruth.

9. What time do you usually go to sleep and wake up (psh what even is a sleep schedule)?

My brain shuts down after 8:00 sharp. I try to study/read in the wee hours of the morning, but it just doesn't work out for me. So I like to go to bed at 9:30-9:45, but I often stay up till 11:45, and I'm not really sure why. 

I try to get up at 5:45 so I'll have time to drink my coffee and have time in the Word, but I have this great talent called "turning your alarm(s) off in your sleep." I could seriously go to the Olympics for it.

10. Which Disney princess do you want to be when you grow up (because we all know this is an important decision that we're going to have to make at some point in our lives)?

BELLE. I love Belle. Belle is me. I love gold dresses and books and I try to see the best in people, and I think Belle is a great example of that. And yes, this is a very important question for every young adult lady to consider. I applaud you, Olivia.

11. Well, I thought that I only had to come up with ten questions and I was happy with that last question being my last one, but then I realized I had to do eleven. Soooo. Do you like to color with crayons, markers, or colored pencils?

(Eleven is a weird number.)
I’m not a huge fan of crayons. They’re too waxy. And markers bleed through, so I guess I like colored pencils?? I don’t really color that often (except in biology class -- go figure), so I wouldn’t know.

11 Facts About Me:

1. I’m currently wearing two shades of gray, and I might die (they’re PJ’s folks, no worries).
2. I say “no worries” as much as the average Australian.
3. I love Australia. Like if a stranger showed up at my house with a plane ticket to Australia I’d probably take it. (Don’t get any ideas.)
4. My brother is playing “sleigh ride” in the kitchen off of his Pandora and I’m really liking the vibe it gives off. I love Christmas :)
5. I’m running out of facts. It’s really hard for me to talk about myself.
6. We Reids are big southern people. I never say “you guys.” Only “y’all.” It’s the proper term, even though it’s underlined in red on this word document.
7. My favorite food is Mac ’n’ cheese, the really unhealthy southern kind with bread crumbs on the top.
8. I have a list of adjectives that I hate, and if you say them around me I might cry.
9. My hair is taking so long to grow. It’s agonizingly annoying.
10. Tomorrow is my last day of school before Thanksgiving Break, and my teacher just announced that my bio test is postponed until the Thursday after break!!!!
11. I’m out of facts. Sorry, y’all. No worries, though. You can learn plenty about me by checking out my social media. (Especially my twitter. Yesterday, there was a roach on my bedroom ceiling, and I cried, then tweeted about it.)

My Questions:

1. What is your favorite season and why?

2. Do you have any weird/quirky habits or talents? 

3. Describe your personality in three words. (This isn't a question, but hey, I think it's okay to bend the rules a little.)

4. If Peter Pan came to your window right now and said he'd fly you to Neverland, would you go? (I would, just so you know.)

5. What's your favorite room in the house and why?

6. Are there any talents you don't have that you wish you did?

7. What has God been showing you lately?

8. If you could snap back to any moments right now, what would it be? 

9. What is your favorite movie and why?

10. What are your Thanksgiving traditions, if you have any?

11. If you could talk to anyone right now -- and I mean anyone -- who would it be?

I nominate:

Madilyn (who I actually know in real life, by the way) at Thoughts of a Wildflower

Jess at Living Joyfully 

The Rules:

1.Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. 

2.Display the award on your blog.

3.Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5.Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers.

6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) 

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it!

Well, that's a wrap, folks! I hope y'all enjoyed this silly/fun post! Happy [early]  Thanksgiving!

Study Tips // Why We Press On

Monday, November 16, 2015

It's that time of year again. School, school, and more school. And I happen to be up to my neck in it. I have a full schedule this semester. Frankly, I don't even have time to write this. I have so much to do. But, for y'all, I wanted to do a post about studying just to give you an idea of how I prepare for tests, quizzes, and exams.

1. Find Your Zone.

My zone is someplace completely alone with soft light and Frank Sinatra/Taylor Swift/Hunter Hayes playing in the background. It also helps to have a cup of coffee near by. We all do best in our zones. I like music loud enough to drowned out the world around me but soft enough so I can focus. I like to be warm and comfortable with minimal distractions. Whatever your zone may be, find it.

2. Don't study on an empty stomach.

There is a reason teachers tell you to eat a wholesome breakfast before standardized testing. Food is important, y'all, and we all need it. Don't try to study on an empty stomach. Your brain works best when you're fed. So eat. 

3. Leave your phone as far away as possible.

I've found that the best way to study is without your phone. Sure, it's helpful when you're on the go, but there are way too many distractions in one place to get anything done. Even when Do Not Disturb is turned on, I still get social media notifications, and guess what? They distract me every time.  

4. Find your learning style.

I learn visually, aurally, and verbally. I like lectures and note-taking, and I benefit from repeating something over and over again. We all have different learning styles, and we learn best when we use that learning style. If you aren't sure of yours, you can take this quiz.  If you aren't sure how to apply your learning style to your studies, you can read this article


So, there are four tips for you, and they all require one thing: discipline. But what is yours and my motivation? Why should we work hard? Why do we give it our all and do our best? Is it merely because that's what society tells us? Is it because we want to get into an Ivy League school? What if you've got a perfectly good family business waiting for you, and you don't even have to go to college?

Christians are called to work hard because it's what God wants for us. He has place us where we are for a reason. He wants our best.

Colossians 3:23-24 says this: "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."

Our work is for God, not for ourselves or other people. Right now, whether you're in middle school, high school, or college, God has called you to be where you are and to work for Him, not for men. He has called us to learn discipline and work ethic and to spread His word wherever we go. And in the midst of all the trials we're going through, we have an eternal reward.

1 Corinthians 15:58 calls us to be "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

Our labor isn't in vain; God has a plan for us. So why should you study hard? Because that is what God has called you to do, and He expects you to do it well and for His glory, not your own.

Happy studying, readers!

P.S. Next week is Thanksgiving Break, so I'll be able to post more often. Be ready for a Thankfulness post :)