Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thriving During the Hustle of the Holidays

This post was originally titled "Single's Guide to Surviving Christmas + New Years" back in 2015, but I've decided that I don't just want to survive these holidays I want to thrive during them (and also these tips can be for married couples (with or without kids) too! 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Let Me Finish The Story

"Allie, wait, let me finish the story!"

A few months back, within 24 hours of each other, I heard that saying twice. Or actually multiple times. Two friends were telling me two different stories that they were building up to two hopefully great endings. But I wanted to know the ending faster than they were talking. So I kept interrupting them with my guesses of how things would end.

Spoiler Alerts: I never guessed the right answer. And the endings were pretty great.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book of Mark Study: Week 4

I've missed the past few weeks updating the Mark journey but Week 4 is ready to go!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book of Mark Study: Week 3

I didn't share my Mark journey last week in hopes that you would check out my posts over on my fiend, Jessica Mathisen's blog as her featured Sisters of Influence.

So let's head right in to week 3 now!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Life Post Grad: Upgrading Your Wardrobe

Today, I am so excited to have Carolyn Keating from Heritage Lifestyle Design on the blog to talk about taking your wardrobe from college comfy to career professional. She has years of experience working in the fashion world from merchandising to account management and now she is a personal wardrobe stylist.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Grieving Process

I still can't believe that it has been 6 months since we lost Momma. Since we were so open with our emotions, thoughts, and feelings while in the middle of the horrible situation, I've been wanting to write about the days and months following and how we (or really I am) are processing, handling/dealing, moving on...whatever word fits. But even now, going back to those days still feels just how it did then as my sister, Amanda described it - "it is truly like an elephant is sitting on my chest".

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book of Mark Study: Week 2

I should have linked this last week, but if you're wanting to start the Mark Journey yourself, you can find all of the info here.

Diving into Week 2

Day 1 - Mark 4:21-41

Several times in this passage (vs. 34 & 40) we see that Jesus explained everything to them and they still didn't fully understand. I also imagine that they have the Scriptures like we do and think "gosh, why don't y'all get it?" But the reality of it is two-fold: 1. Sometimes we aren't ready to fully understand and the Holy Spirit is still revealing it to us little by little and 2. We just aren't really paying attention. Lord, may my spirit always be in tune with Your Spirit so that I will understand what it is You're telling me.

Day 2 - Mark 5:1-20

vs. 14 "Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened."

This man needed a miracle to get the demons out of him. But in order for him to be healed, pigs (someone else's pigs / livelihood) were essentially sacrificed as they ran off the cliffs and drowned. Reminds me a little bit of the scapegoats and sacrifices made in the Old Testament. But back to Mark. We need healing as well, and it cost Jesus His life to heal and to save us. There will also be times when it may cost us something - whether time, money, talents - in order to be freed from some of our chains and bondage just like this man.

Day 3 - Mark 5:21-42

vs. 28 "because she thought, 'if I just touch His clothes, I will be healed'."

Y'all, her faith right there is what I strive for, but fall so short many days. She knew if she could just get a piece of Jesus, He would heal her. I've got all of Jesus - the whole entire Bible, the Holy Spirit, access to the Father without a priest - yet, sometimes I still doubt what He can do for me. Oh Lord, increase my faith to match this woman's faith.

Day 4 - Mark 6:1-29

vs. 20 - "because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he like to listen to him."

When I read this verse my mind said "What?! Herod admitted to liking John? Since when?!" We may never know how what we say influences someone. Everything we do and say should always point to God the Father so that others may come to know Him (Matthew 5:16 - "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.")

Day 5 - Mark 6:30-56

vs. 41 "Taking the 5 loaves and the 2 fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all."

My takeaway from this verse comes from Mark Batterson of The Circle Maker. I've recently finished the book and am on Day 11 of the journey (same day as Week 2 Day 5 of Mark). He pointed out that Jesus gave thanks for the miracle before it even happened. He didn't ask God to make it feed the 5,000; He thanked God for it feeding the 5,000. We / I need to start giving thanks for the answers before I even have them.

Mark Batterson also points out in vs 48 that Jesus has a bit of a fun-loving personality as He "was about to pass them by," as He walked on the water. He knew they'd frighten and He was getting a kick out of it. Mark B says that sometimes we get so caught up on Jesus' character, that we forget to look at His personality. Interesting thought.

Day 6 - Mark 7:1-23

vs. 8 "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions."

I love traditions, especially holiday and family traditions, and they're not necessarily bad. In fact, they have been what has bonded my family and friends so tightly together. But when it comes to traditions of the faith, we have to be so very careful not to put them above the actual commands of God. I was talking about this with my Flourish mentor about how its not even about what God calls / commands us to do, it is more about our heart and our obedience rather than the act itself. But we can (myself, especially!) get this backwards. You know that whole "being a Martha" thing.

Day 7 - Mark 7:24-37

vs. 37 "People were overwhelmed with amazement. 'He has done everything well,' they said. 'He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.' "

My question for today - Do I truly believe that in every aspect of my life He has done everything well? Hmmm...that can be a tough one to answer. So I'll leave off at that.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Life Post Grad: Introduction

When I was in high school, I was so ready for college, and obviously had to think about what I wanted to do after college so I could pick my major (18 year old AllieDanae...well, she was a little clueless). At the time, I had no idea how college would change my life. Or how I would adapt to life after college.

How was this 5 years ago?!
My time at The University of Georgia was nothing like I imagined, yet more than I dreamed. There are days when I tear up a little just thinking about those days. College was the best. I could write a million posts on UGA and be all sentimental about it, but I won’t. A friend who graduated before me said “life is different outside of the college bubble, some days are hard”. I thought I understood, but she knew otherwise.

Everyday in college was about community. It naturally happens. Outside of college? It becomes something you seek, you crave, you need.

I’m starting this #LifePostGrad series to discuss several topics I didn’t necessarily learn about in my college classes. Other majors probably learned more in areas such as interviews or finance than I did, but I still want to share it all with you. I will be creating several posts around interviewing, managing finances, new cities, community, engagements, marriages, fashion, dealing with co-workers, and faith, as well as others as they come along. Some of the posts will be just me, rambling on and giving tips, others will be mini-interviews with people in my life who I believe have great info to share with you.

If you ever have any topics you’d like covered or questions regarding any of them, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Email me alliedanae@gmail.com and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book of Mark Study: Week 1

If you caught my IG story the other day, I talked about how my church (Passion City) is doing a church-wide, daily study of the book of Mark. I used to do a blog on weekly Scripture so I thought now would be a fitting time to restart that category.

For our Mark study, we are reading about 20ish verses a day, and following the SOAP method. SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Each day we read the daily Scripture, Observe what is going on matter-of-factly, question how we can Apply it to our lives, and then Pray it back to the Lord.

What I'm committing to doing each week is hitting the main things I'm reading, observing, applying, and praying.

Let's dive in to week one!

Day One - Mark 1:1-28

Mark 1:12-13 - "At once the Spirit sent Him out into the wilderness, and He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals and angels attended Him."

These verses  stuck out to me because before Jesus' ministry fully began, He went to the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray. This was my first day of the 30 day Mark study (obviously), the first day of my 40 day Draw the Circle Prayer journey, AND the first day of my new 8 week nutrition/workout plan. I was excited to see what the Lord would do in my life over the few weeks in my life. (I can already tell you, He's been working!) My prayer for this day was to begin to have open eyes and an open heart for what the Lord would do. And for an attitude that would be willing to obey.

Day Two - Mark 1:29-45

In verses 25, 34, and 43-44, it says that Jesus told them not to tell. Why? One of my college profs told us that Jesus was preparing for how He would reveal Himself and the time was not yet ready. For me, I want to be open with my faith and my new journeys (mainly the Mark & Prayer ones) but I have to be aware of what is just between me and the Lord. Somethings need to be shared, the things that bring Him the most glory. With that said, I won't be sharing everything or everyone I'm praying about and for, but when I feel the Lord wants me to share, I will!

Day Three - Mark 2:1-17

On Sunday before we started this journey, I had a huge breakdown at my aunt's house. In full transparency, I was wrecked. I have had an amazing life and with the risk of sounding too cliche, I know how truly blessed I am (there's a full honest post coming later). But I had this overwhelming feeling that I've "done everything right" and there are a few things that just don't add up in my life. Why am I still single at 27 and why won't I have my Momma on my wedding day? Even typing that out now, I feel short of breath and the tears are coming. Again, let me reiterate. I have an amazing life. But one of those two questions is a deep desire of mine to be married. My 3 BFFs from kindergarten are all married with babies and so is my sister. I want to be in the same life stage as them and for some reason I'm not. All of my friends still have both their parents, and for some reason I don't.

What does this have to do with Mark 2:1-17?

Mark 2:17 - "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteousness, but sinners."

It has never and never will be about my actions to be more righteous. Serving at church, caring for others, mentoring students - all of those things that I have done are good. But it all goes back to the fact that I'm a sinner who needed a Savior. He gently reminded me of this when I read vs 17. Regardless of how much I do "right", it will never be enough. God's plan for me is just that. A plan for me. It is different for all us. I'm still working through this roadblock in my life and Satan knows just how to apply pressure on the wound. I'll share more later, but for now, my prayer for that day was this - Lord, remind me that my life isn't about what I do, but Who I do it for.

Day Four - Mark 2:18-27

Mark 2:27 - "Then He said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

This day was a bit more simpler. He gave us the Sabbath as a gift for rest and rejuvenation. Lord, how am I handling this gift You've so graciously given me?

Day Five - Mark 3:1-19

Mark 3:3 - "Jesus said to the shriveled hand, 'Stand up in front of everyone'."

Jesus called this man to stand up in front of everyone so they could see them clearly. The pharisees were waiting for Him to make a mistake, but instead He performed a miracle. What does this have to do with us? Two directions - 1. When people realize our position on things as Christians, like Christ, they'll be watching us for a mistake. 2. When things happen to us (a shriveled hand, a loss of a parent), He is creating the space for us to show others what He can do in our lives. He asks us to stand in front everyone so they can see Him.

Day Six - Mark 3:20-35

Mark 3:35 - "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

Another gift from God - a family. I don't know what your family background is or if it is similar to mine, but God offers us an eternal family, a spiritual family. I felt it (and still do) at the church I grew up in, the ministries I was involved with in college and the 2 churches I've attended since college. When you have a common denominator, you're drawn closer together. Think of fraternities and sororities, groups who return from mission trips, and of course, even families. He offers us all of that. And we just have to say yes.

Day 7 - Mark 4:1-20

Mark 4:18-20 - "Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop - some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown."

I don't want my life to be unfruitful during hard times. I have to cling to His word that has been sown into my life over the years. Without Him, what would be the point? He is my saving grace and my sanity.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Back to Writing

(photo: WeTwo)

It feels so good to sit down and write again. Write for me, and for you, and for Him; not for business or clients. I'm still working through some stuff on the post I drafted a few months back about Momma, but I think I just need to get back to writing regularly and let the feelings flow.

So let's recap some of my year so you'll know what's coming in more detail in the next few weeks. I had already been dreaming big for 2017 before December and it served as a reminder that I need to pursue my dreams as hard as I could as long as they continued to honor God.

A while back I discovered these things called "Powersheets" and originally I thought they were a little "out there" & "woo-woo" but realized it is really a type of planner that revolves around meaningful life goals and not just a daily schedule. Lara Casey has an amazing heart for women and living lives that are intentional and full of purpose. When you lose someone close to you, you begin to take stock of what really matters in life and what our ultimate purpose is in being here to serve the Lord.

*these are not affiliates
Photo by: WeTwoPhotoVideo

I ordered the 6 month set last year, but didn't use them to the fullest extent. For Christmas, I asked for the 12 month version and Momma & Daddy got them for me. We spent New Year at our place in North Carolina, and I took some time to really look at my life and what my goals are - what I want my life to truly be about. I have some overall goals that I then take and break into monthly, weekly, and daily goals. For example - "Healthy Living" would be an overall goal and then a weekly goal would be "working out 2-3x week" and then taking vitamins daily. I'm all about check boxes and love being able to see how I'm creating new habits (hello, 6:30am Bible study time!) and how they've helped me keep moving forward in life without Momma. -- I also use Emily Ley's planner because I am pretty forgetful and need things laid out an organized. And Santa had it monogrammed for me this year!! (Daddy couldn't figure out why I needed two planners, but apparently he forgot I'm his daughter and need to write everything down - haha!)

So here's a brief overview of life lately:

New Year's in Cashiers, NC
Passion Conference
Celebrating Momma's Ministry at Church
Celebrating Momma's Birthday

The Falcons play in the Super Bowl
I turn 27...a very hard but good day
College friends take annual trip to Cashiers

Girls' trip to D.C. for the half marathon I was supposed to run
One year at BHLDN
Women's Life Fellowship Gala
Momma and Daddy's Anniversary
Celebrating Cameron's Birthday

My best friend's baby turns 1
Braves Baseball

There's definitely been a lot of traveling back and forth to SC / NC these past few months (my car had 7 miles on it when I bought it in June of 2014; it just hit 40,000 this weekend). So I've had a lot of one-on-one time with God and listening to lots of podcasts - I'll do a post on all my favorites.

A lot of celebrating has gone on these past few months, but that doesn't mean we don't miss Momma. Everyone handles grief differently, even in our own family, but the two biggest things I want to share right now are
1. God can handle every single emotion we send His way - sorrow, grief, anger, depression, joy, laughter, tears, sucker-punched-air-knocked-out-of-you - all of it. It comes in waves, but just keep turning to Him. He can handle it all. (More on this coming soon)
2. Our family - immediate and extended - has remained super close, and for that I will forever be grateful. We are fully aware that our family dynamics are so rare these days as our extended family is closer than most and divorce is not something we've experienced much on any level grandparents and down. We continue to hold fast to the love and friendship that God has given to both the Walkers and the Stiles families.

I've also been reading a ton of books this year as part of one of my Powersheets goals. Here is a running list with detail reviews and notes coming soon.