Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

November 27, 2012

Going Deeper.

     I decided to title this post after a song that I used to sing one summer many years ago at vacation bible school at our old church. The leaders would lead all of the kids into this song at the start of every night of VBS that went something like "I'm goind deeper with God! Going deeper every day, going deeper that's the way!" Anyone else remember that old song?! Haha.

     It seemed like a fitting introduction though to what I want to blog about today, and that's how my faith has grown since coming to college. If any middle or high school aged girls are reading this post today, I strongly encourage you to think about attending a private, Christian college in the future. It's definitely changed my life for the better.

     In high school, I was really only a Christian by default, or because it was my identity. My parents had switched churches a few times when I was growing up, but they'd always exposed me to Christianity and the bible, and my mom used to pray with me most nights before bed when I was a little girl. I never really remember a specific moment that I was "saved," but somewhere during middle school or my early high school years I came to a realization that Jesus truly was God's Son, and I believed (and still do believe!) that he died on a cross for everyone's sins, and that God loves everyone. It was just the "relationship" with God piece that I was missing.

     As high school continued Christianity became my identity. I didn't party in high school, and I never had a boyfriend (the latter I would have liked but that's another story!). I found that being a Christian was simply a good excuse for being a goody-goody two shoes. As I've said before here and on my old blog, it took me a really long time to find good friends in high school. I often almost blamed the fact that a lot of people didn't treat me nicely on the fact that I was a Christian.

     You'd think though that by not being accepted at school it would make me draw closer in my relationship with God, but instead it did the opposite. I rarely prayed and read the bible, I avoided Christian music and the further that I got into my high school years the less I went to church. It's not like I had decided to become aethiest or practice another religion, but I was honestly angry at God for the fact that I didn't have the best high school experience, and I didn't want to spent time developing a relationship with Him. Which is so ironic- since everyone at school knew me as the Christian girl!

     But here in college everything has changed. I attend a Christian college in the South which is totally different from my high school. The majority of the students that go here share my morals and views and have relationships with God. Being in a community of like-minded people has helped me so much to grow in my own faith. There are so many fellowship opportunities on campus to take advantage of. I'm a member of a small girls' bible study, and I try to attend the once-a-week evening chapel service as often as I can. These two things alone have made a positive impact in my faith.

     I'm learning though that it's really the little things that allow you to grow in your relationship with God. For example, I recently downloaded a free app onto my iPhone that has brief daily devotionals. I read one every night before I go to bed. I've found that a lot of the messages and verses have really spoken to me and applied to my life as of late. I've also made a point recently to pray, out loud, every night for a few minutes before I go to bed. I find that verbally talking to God helps me to stay focussed on what I'm praying about, and the conversation aspect makes Him feel closer to me.

     I've also been doing a lot of thinking about Christian principles and morals. For example, I've thought a lot on the topic of dating lately. In high school I didn't have a boyfriend, but it was only because I was never asked out. Had I been, I was so insecure that I probably would have dated almost anyone, even a guy who didn't share my views on things like purity. I used to think it was so unfair that I never got a lot of male attention in high school, but lately God has placed this peace on my heart that He's saving me for someone special down the road, and it makes me glad that I didn't waste my time and emotions on some immature high school guy. I'm definitely open to a dating relationship (Anytime now! Haha) but it would have to be with a guy who loves God and shares the same morals that I do, and wouldn't pressure me into anything that I was uncomfortable doing.

     All of these little things combined are helping me to grow deeper in my faith with the Lord, and I can't wait to see where this leads in the future! How has your relationship with God been lately?

xoxo Miss ALK

P.S. The pictures that I put into this post are all ones that I've taken on my various plane trips to and from North Carolina and Maine. I didn't choose them for any other reason other than I think the clouds look cool. :-)

November 24, 2012

So thankful.

     My Thanksgiving post is belated because I've spent the past few days at my sweet college friend K's house with her family. Plane tickets to Maine are expensive and since I spent fall break at home I had to stay down south for Thanksgiving. It's been a lovely week filled with sleeping in, watching movies, shopping and fellowship. K's family has made me feel part of the family, and for that I am so grateful. :-)

      I did want to do a brief post though expressing my gratitude for some important things in my life. And I'm not just doing this post because I feel that it's a blogger's duty to do the annual good ol' Thanksgiving post. I'm writing this because God has blessed me immensely and being at college has made me realize that.

     I'm thankful for:

  • My parents: I'm an only child so I've always been close to both of my parents. I didn't always appreciate them when I was younger and during my high school years I frequently complained to everyone at school about how I thought they were too strict, or too hard on me, or too unfair, etc. Now that I'm living 1000 miles away from them I realize how wrong I was. They weren't too strict at all- what they were was being good parents. My mom especially instilled in me how important Christian values are. Yes, back in the day I may have held grudges against them for not letting me wear a ton of make-up at 14 or let me get my license the day I turned 16, but now I realize that this was all for the better. They put up with me through all of the moodiness that came with being a teenager, and still put up with me now (via the phone). ;-) Seriously though, they're the best. They're the most caring parents ever, and they go out of their way for me all of the time. Even while I'm at school I know that they're always a phone call or e-mail away. 
  • My college: The school that I attend in North Carolina is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have grown so much in my faith since coming to college, and also gained much educational knowledge. I'm thankful that I like (most) of my professors, and that the things that I'm learning at school will help me in the real world someday. I'm so blessed that my college had a radio station that I'm able to volunteer at, even just being a first semester freshman. Having college radio experience on my resume will help me with finding a job after graduation. I love going to a Christian college. Attending the weekly student-lead chapel services and belonging to a girls' bible study group is awesome. But most of all I'm thankful to get to go to school in such a safe and friendly place. The climate of my college is totally the opposite of that of my high school. Seriously, everyone is so nice and approachable. That brings me to my next topic:
  • My college friends: Being a Christian girl with morals in a public high school wasn't the easiest thing in the world, and it took me a long time to find good friends in high school. So I definitely wasn't expecting to make friends in college so quickly! All of you guys are so different, unique and beautiful people in your own ways, and I love you all the more from it. Some of you I met on our class Facebook page last spring before school started, some of you I met at orientation in July, some of you during the events the first week of school, some of you through my classes and some I just meet (and often those are the best friendship stories!). There's honestly too many of you to list here but y'all know who you are! I know that we will be friends for life, and I can't wait to see where our lives take us. And shout-out to M and B who are the ones that usually take my pictures for fashion posts on this blog!
  • My best friends from high school: There's far fewer in number of you then my college friends, but I'm grateful for y'all just the same. It may have taken me 3 years to find you guys, but you taught me what true friends look like. I may be the "different" one among you guys, but you love me for who I am. We had some amazing memories during my senior year that I'll never forget. I can't wait to see you guys in a few weeks over December break! Always stay in touch, your Facebook chats, texts and skype calls make my day.
  • Bloggers that inspire: Elle, Julianne and Emily, you three ladies have blogs that never cease to encourage and bless me. You all write the best posts; sometimes the make me laugh until I cry, sometimes they warm my heart, and sometimes they make me truly think about my relationship with God. I hope that someday I can meet each of you in person, and be able to call you a friend outside of just the blogging world. :-)
  • God: Lord, you have blessed me with so much. This little list that I've made doesn't even begin to cover it. Going to college has opened my eyes wide as to how great You are and how lucky I truly am. I hope that I continue to grow in my faith over the next few years and stay true to my faith. Use me to be a light to others. 
     And a few other important things:
  •  Netflix (An easily distracted college student's dream)
  • Bojangles, Chick Fil A and Cookout- aka the best fast food in the world. I don't know how I survived for almost 18 years without these amazing eateries. 
  • Vera Bradley- because everything that company makes is adorable. And for going to a college where almost all my girlfriends share my love of Vera!
  • Spotify- I mean who doesn't want to subscribe to my awesome playlists that sample the best Christian, country and late 90s/early 2000s pop songs?! 
  • Cheaper gas in South Carolina 
  • The generous amount of Mexican restaurants that are fairly close to my college.
  • The fact that many of my college friends are interested to hear about what life is like in Maine and enjoy my stories (strange since I don't find Maine to be a very exciting place).

     What are you thankful for?

     "...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

xoxo Miss ALK

November 13, 2012

The most exciting item that I've ever crossed off my bucket list.

     A dream that I've had for many years actually came true about a week and a half ago. To be honest, I'm still in shock that it actually happened. It was totally a God thing... and maybe a little bit of being in the right place at the right time as well. :-)

     Yes, that's me with the one and only Karen Kingsbury! Aka, the queen of (amazing) Christian fiction. She's a New York Times best selling author, and beloved by fans around the nation and world. I've read almost 30 of her books and I won't stop until I've read them all! Each of her books hooks me in from the very first page, she's an extremely talented author who uses her gift to glorify the Lord.

     Karen's books encouraged me so much during my high school years. My walk with God was encouraged so much by reading them and I was able to relate to a lot of her characters, especially the character of Bailey Flanigan. Bailey was modeled after Karen's real life daughter Kelsey, and through the years the books follow Bailey through high school, college, a career as an actress and then her new life as a wife. Bailey's high school situation was similar to mine, and the character of her inspired me to take a stand for my faith despite being in a harsh public school environment.

     I'd wanted to meet the woman behind these amazing books for years, but Karen never really did any events in the New England area, where I'm from. She lived in the Pacific Northwest until last year, and now she and her family make their home in Nashville. When it was announced that Karen was going on a tour to promote her newest book, I was so excited that some of the locations were in driving distance from my college! Definitely a perk to going to school down south. I was so delighted by how friendly and down to earth Karen is in person. It was such a blessing to be able to meet the woman whose books have inspired and helped to change my life for the better!

     My sweet college friend B accompanied me. Even though she'd never read any of Karen's books she helped me find the location of the signing and waited in line with me for 2 hours. She's the one that took the picture of me and Karen that I included in this post!
     Karen signed my copy of her latest book, The Bridge, with the bible verse Jeremiah 29:11. She quotes this verse frequently in her books. In the NIV it reads:

"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." 

This verse has really inspired me in the past couple weeks. These recent times have been filled with emotional ups and downs for me, and knowing that all of this is an exact part of God's plan for my life gives me this amazing inner peace that I can't even describe! College has really taught me to lean on God for my support.

Have any of you ever met a celebrity, or someone that you've always looked up to?

xoxo Miss ALK

November 12, 2012

Please bare with me.

     These past two weeks have been the most stressful of the college semester for me. Seriously- finals will be a breeze after all of the work that I've had due lately. In the past 2 weeks I've had a presentation, huge test, and 3 large papers due. The last paper of these is due tomorrow, and it's nowhere near being finished. It's also been stressful in terms of college life in general. I won't go into detail now, but let's just say that I'm thrilled that it's a new week!

     I can't wait for Thanksgiving break! I'll be going to one of my college friend's houses. She lives in a different part of North Carolina that I've never seen before, so I'm excited to go somewhere new. I also have a lot of blog posts planned! More of my fall fashion ideas, as well as reflections and photographs from something exciting that happened to me a couple weeks ago. :-)

     Have a great rest of your week. I promise I'll get back to regularly scheduled posts soon.

     xoxo Miss ALK

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