live more, worry less

I have always been a worrier. When I was little it was so bad that I would give myself stomach ulcers. Now I think about what a kid could possibly have to worry about? It can be the smallest most inconsequential thing, yet I will worry about it for absolutely no reason. It feels like you’re in this never-ending battle against life.

So what does the Bible have to say about worrying?

I am immediately taken to Matthew 6:25.

Jesus says,

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Verse 27 might as well be in bold, italicized, and underlined…

Worrying serves no purpose other than causing stress and anxiety. Currently in the United States roughly 18-20% of Americans suffer from anxiety, the most common mental illness. That is 40 MILLION PEOPLE! It makes me wonder how much of that is brought on by oneself and is therefor preventable.

I read that by worrying, you are not putting your faith in Jesus. You do not trust that he will help you through any situation you may face. As a Christian this was HUGE for me. Of course I trust Jesus. Of course I put my faith in him. But I was doing the exact opposite by holding on to certain aspects of my life and not giving it up completely to him. Even when a situation seems hopeless, there is always hope in Jesus. If you are worried about something, I ask that you give it up to him. Things will happen exactly the way they are meant to, and when you give up your worries, you gain peace.

Some more helpful verses:

    Philippians 4:6-7

    Matthew 11:28-30

    Psalm 55:22

    1 Peter 5:6-8

With love,

Kelsey

What Now?

Let’s take a trip back to graduation in May of 2016. I was constantly searching for a job in the area, and probably applied to more than fifty. I was getting the same responses, “sorry you don’t quite fit our qualifications” or “we’re looking for someone with a little more experience.” Suddenly the horror story I’d hear of the percentage of college graduates that are unemployed was coming true, and for me, no less. I felt like I did what I was supposed to. I went to college, got my bachelors degree, and all for what? To become a statistic? A degree was supposed to open doors for me, allow me to get a job.

I was finishing up my internship at the Sheriff’s office when I found an ad to a job in Statesboro that indicated, “no experience required.” Of course I jumped on it and within less than a month and a couple of interviews later, I had my first big girl job. Unfortunately, I could tell pretty soon this would not be a long-term career for me. While it offered many promotional opportunities, it was based on selling, and one thing I am not, is a saleswoman.

Fast-forward four months and I am absolutely miserable. I was travelling over four hours a day, dealing with obnoxious customers, working over fifty hours a week, and not for compatible compensation. I wouldn’t see Jake for three to four days at a time since he is on night shift and I would be gone for work before he got home and visa versa. I could quickly see that the way to the top was through manipulation and cheating the system by fudging numbers. I have had pretty strong conviction since I was little and was not going to cheat people out of their money just so I could get a promotion.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the opportunity and actually having a good paying job, but what is worth waking up every single day and counting down the minutes until it’s over? Some things are much more important (i.e. happiness and sanity.) So after Jake and I returned from our honeymoon, I put in my two weeks. Granted, I thought I had another job lined up, but sadly that fell through.

Now I am back to square one wondering what now… Tomorrow will be two months since my last day at work, and I do not regret it one little bit. It’s scary not knowing what the future holds. The hardest part is just trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I find myself constantly praying for God to just show me my purpose and to open the right doors for me. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason so I just have to be patient and trust that God obviously knows what’s best for me.

In the mean time, I guess I just try to enjoy my life (as a 22-year-old housewife) and be thankful for all of the time I’m getting to spend with my husband. I know not to take each day for granted. Regardless if I know what it is or not, there is a purpose for me in this world, and I’ll figure it out in God’s time.

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xoxo,

Kelsey

Goodbye, 2016

It’s been almost a year since my last post, and boy, what a year it has been. It’s a collective running joke that 2016 was all around terrible and I will be the first to Amen to that. Little did I know then, this past year would be one of the hardest years of my life. On a bigger scale as a country, we dealt with major blows socially and survived the toughest political campaign in history. On a personal level, I almost don’t even know where to begin.

Good things happened this year. I graduated from the best university in America. I started my “big girl job” (which I have quit, but we will get to that later.) Jake and I bought our first home. We had the most beautiful wedding and went on our dream honeymoon. And we have a new little addition to our family in our nephew, Deacon. Those are just a few of the really good things I don’t want to forget, but this year is tainted with some things I really wish I could.

It’s hard to type out all your feelings and spill your thoughts without revealing too much for fear of criticism. I want to be as transparent as possible but some things are still too fresh that unfortunately I am still dealing with almost a year later. Plus, they are not necessarily my demons to tell. I promise myself and whoever is reading that one day I will share because I know it could possibly help others out there.

I love the promise of a new year; a new chance at maybe getting things right this go-around. I know you don’t have to wait a 365 days to change something, but what better time than the start of a new year. It is a time of reflection and self-evaluation. Seeing things you have been doing and trying things differently. I am one of those crazy people that make lists for everything, so I love resolutions. I came up with six that I hope to keep, and that my friends and family keep me accountable for.

  1. De-clutter

By this I mean get rid of the unnecessary things in my life that no longer bring me joy or have no worth. (Side note: I have been watching minimalist videos and they will change your life.)

  1. Save money

Budget, budget, budget! Jake and I are currently living on just his income, and although he makes great money, I do not want to live paycheck to paycheck. This ties into number one by stopping purchasing unnecessary stuff that we do not need.

  1. Be productive

I currently do not have a job (or hobby) so while I am trying to figure my life out, I can still be productive and get things done each day.

  1. Get healthier

You would think working out and eating clean was comparable to putting my hand on a hot stove because, geez, this is SO HARD for me. Which is why it’s my same resolution year after year. It is easy to be lazy and it’s waaaay easier (and cheaper) to eat junk. But 2017 is the year for me!

  1. Relationships

I am the epitome of an introvert. I much rather stay at home and watch HGTV than hang out with others, and because of that my friendships suffer. This year I plan to make more time for my friends and family.

  1. Be an ACTIVE Christian

Out of all my resolutions this is the most important. Last year I talked about how slack I had been in my relationship with Jesus and shamefully this past year wasn’t too much different. This is my number one priority this year.

I am optimistically looking forward to 2017. There are many things I can’t control, but what I can control is my response to the things that happen. I hope to be more proactive than reactive this year and not just be a passenger as life passes me by.

With love,

Kelsey

New Year, New Me! Seriously…

I know, I know… cliché and overused, right? You think, “People are going to be exactly the same, with maybe some good intentions of starting resolutions then slacking off in a month or so.” But that’s exactly the negative outlook people have and as to why they never change; why they are exactly the same as they were the year before. Each year should be a learning experience. You should grow as a person, grow your knowledge, and grow your relationships, with the most important relationship being with Jesus Christ.

This past year I have definitely slacked off in that aspect of my life. Going to church was more of a hassle to get up on Sunday mornings. I’m embarrassed to say that I could not tell you how many times I picked up my Bible. I would often fall asleep before I even said my prayers. Our whole relationship was put on the backburner. Despite some good things that have happened this year, I’m ready to put 2015 behind me and focus on the new year. That’s not to say I’m not thankful for it, or I didn’t learn anything from it, just that I am going to make 2016 everything it wasn’t.

It’s all about attitude. If I set out on this new year with the same attitude and way of thinking then it surly won’t be any different. I don’t want to be the same person year after year, living a life that I’m not proud of. I don’t want a stagnant relationship with Christ. It takes waking up each day, and not just going through the motions, but actually taking the effort to make it better than the day before.

So here’s to 2016 and the exciting things to come this year; my internship, my graduation, Gracie’s graduation, my wedding, and so many more things that are in store.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

So, new year, new me & to be continued…

Kelsey

Enjoy Today

Senioritis: (n.) an affliction of students in their final year of school, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.

Yes it is a real disease, and yes I am currently suffering from it.

Today marks six months until I will run walk across the stage in the prettiest little stadium in America and receive my diploma. I absolutely CAN. NOT. WAIT. While many wish they could do college all over again, I am all about being finished. My motivation this semester is at an all time low and I’ve probably skipped more class than the last three years combined. I feel anxious, like I can’t get my life started soon enough. I’m ready for things to start happening: to get married and buy a house and have a big girl job. There are so many things I’m looking forward to that I almost forget about enjoying my life right now. Six months from now my life is going to change. My college career will be over and my worries will be different. It’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities of the future while the present is just passing me by.

So while this is my last six months with the stress of papers and tests and studying, it is also my last six months of living in my college town. It’s my last six months of sleeping in where I don’t have to get up and go a nine to five everyday or have real world responsibilities and bills to pay. This is even my last six months of using my college ID to get student discounts at stores and restaurants (Okay, now that is super depressing).

I have so much to look forward to, especially in 2016, but it’s time to take a step back and enjoy each day God has given me.

♡, Kelsey

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Homecoming

Waking up in the middle of the night to four missed calls from your mom is never a good thing. My heart sank as I called back to have her confirm what I already knew; my great-grandmother had passed away. No matter how prepared you think you are for someone’s death, you can never be prepared enough. Even when you know it’s for the best and that they are no longer suffering, even when you know they are in a much better place worshiping Jesus, it’s still sad and you’ll still miss them.

My memories of my grandmother (“Mother”) are all happy ones. She was a tiny little woman, 5’4” at the tallest and weighed less than 100 pounds, and was the Godliest person I’ve ever known. She never smoke, never drank, never told a lie (probably not true, but I believe it). Her memory had started to go, but she never failed to remember some little story about when one of her five children or eighteen grandchildren was young. We had a family tradition of Sunday lunch at her house after church every week, where everyone would cook a dish and bring it over. I never thought about how precious those moments were because as a child all I cared about was hoping my uncles kept the prayer short and sweet and being the first in line to make sure I got some mac and cheese before it was gone.

This January she would have been 96 years old. At almost a century on this earth, it’s crazy to think about all that she had lived through. She was a child throughout the “Roaring 20s,” grew up during the Great Depression, lived through WWII, then the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the technology age, fifteen different presidents; so many historical moments and major wars. I only wish I would have asked more about her life. She was the only girl with five brothers, so she learned at an early age to cook and clean, and be a caretaker. She still had a clothesline in her back yard and that she used up until about six or seven years ago. As a child I thought it was hilarious to see undergarments hanging outside for everyone to see. “This is how you’d have to do before washers and dryers,” she would say. She was amazing, and she was the sweetest woman in the world, and she was my “Mother.”

I’m thankful to have known her, I’m thankful to have had a relationship with her, and I’m thankful to say goodbye to her. So today I’m sad, but more than that, I am happy. She is finally home, and I am filled with peace because I know exactly where she is. She has waited her whole life to be in the presence of her maker. “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43


In loving memory of Winnie “Mother” Doyle

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January 23, 1920 – October 24, 2015

Another Reason to Love Fall

It’s officially official! We have chosen the date and location of our wedding… October 22, 2016 at the Georgia Southern University Botanical Gardens in Statesboro, Georgia. Up until now our wedding has always felt like an abstract concept, and now that we have concrete plans, I’m even more excited. I get to move on from my Pinterest boards to actual wedding planning! We knew from the beginning that we did not want a summer wedding in South Georgia and since I do not graduate until May, spring was out too. The only draw back is that our date is smack dab in the middle of football season in a college town, which is one of the reasons why we had not chosen a specific date yet. I wanted to wait as long as possible to see if the Eagles 2016 schedule would come out, but I couldn’t hold off any longer because the fall is prime wedding season (and judging by my Facebook timeline, there will be several weddings next fall), and all the venues are starting to fill up.

Jake and I visited only two potential wedding locations, Callawassie Island in Okatie, South Carolina and the GSU Botanical Garden. Callawassie was beautiful and located in a community out on the marsh. It’s only about forty-five minutes from our home in Effingham County, but it would take over three hours for my Baxley family to get there. A couple of weeks later we took a tour of the Gardens, and although I’ve been in Statesboro for almost four years now, I have never been. Not only was it absolutely gorgeous, it is really unique with such cool history. Although the location could not be any more perfect for all of our friends and family, it just makes sense for us to get married in our little college town that means so much to us.

Old Sugar Mills at Callawassie
Old Sugar Mill at Callawassie Island
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens

Now that I have this major thing checked off of my ever growing to-do list I can move on to more exciting things like food and decorations. I haven’t begun to feel the stress yet, but I don’t know if that’s just because we have over a year to go or not… Now my next task is to come up with a creative “wedding hash tag” (something our parents and grandparents didn’t have the pleasure of; welcome to weddings in the 21st century).

Kelsey ♡

A new chapter…

July 22, 2015 will now always hold very special place in my heart. In the middle of the kitchen of Copper Beech Townhomes in our little college town of Statesboro, Georgia, while I looked a hot mess in sweats and a bun, my high school sweetheart proposed. Jake had this elaborate proposal planned for the following Saturday in Sweetheart Circle with our family and friends all around, but true to form, he just couldn’t wait. It didn’t help that I was starting to get suspicious and ask questions about the story he told me to get there, but my female intuition told me something was up. He had just gotten home from work, a twelve hour shift at St. Joseph’s Candler hospital in Savannah, and told me to come help him in the kitchen. Never in a million years did I expect him to drop down on one knee and present me with the most beautiful diamond ring I have ever seen. After what felt like an eternity of him anxiously looking up at me following a speech that brought tears to my eyes, I finally asked him why he had not put it on my finger yet, then only to find out that I still hadn’t answered him (I guess I did in my mind!). The only problem came when he filled me in on his original proposal plan. What to say to everyone who was supposed to show up on Saturday? We seriously considered hiding it from everyone and pretending that Saturday was the actual day that he proposed. However, for one, I’m a horrible actress and everyone would have known right away, but mainly I did not want to take away from the perfect moment of just him and I and the sweetest proposal filled with so much love.


Our love story isn’t this epic tale where we had to beat all the odds and overcome tons of obstacles  to finally be together. We started “going out” as 14 and 15 year old children and over the years our love just grew with us, as we got older and matured. Of course we have had our ups and many downs over the course of our relationship but along the way one thing has remained constant; the love we have for one another. I would not want to go through life and experience it with any other person. God truly has blessed us and I am so thankful to have found my soul mate and absolute best friend. I cannot wait to walk down that isle and finally be a Youmans.

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With love (& lots of happiness),

Kelsey

Healthy is a Lifestyle

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Working out/going to the gym: what brings excitement to some yet spikes fear in others… I, for one, definitely lean more towards the fear side. I’ll admit, the gym intimidates me. I know it’s all in my head and most of my insecurities stem from a lack of confidence in not wanting to make a fool of myself. I have absolutely no clue what to do at the gym nor do I have an accountable “work out partner” to help.

Although I’ve always seemed to have a pretty active lifestyle, I’ve never been one to stick to a work out regime more than a week. In high school I cheered which required mandatory workouts of running bleachers and lifting weights in the summers, and practice every weekday during the fall. I also took a weights class at least one semester every year. Cheering continued into college, but besides our practices, you’d rarely see me in the gym. And certainly by no means have I ever eaten healthy. My diet consists of over processed junk food and soda. I have no aversion to healthy foods but it’s for sure not the cheapest or easiest lifestyle. I am in no way what someone would consider “fat,” but I definitely have insecurities about my body as much as the next person. I don’t feel my best and always seem to be tired with no energy.

To me, being healthy is not necessarily physical but also spiritual. Growing up in church then accepting Jesus into my heart and being baptized at age 7, I would consider myself a Christian. There is always room to have a closer relationship with Christ and lately I feel that the Lord has really laid this on my heart. I don’t read my bible like I should nor do I attend church regularly and I feel like my life is definitely lacking something: more of Jesus.

Hopefully by writing this blog it will help me to become more accountable to myself as I begin this journey towards a better lifestyle of getting into (and staying in) shape, eating healthier, and growing my relationship with Jesus.

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2

Kelsey