You make me brave.

Ever since I was a kid, I have been asked what my plans, goals, and dreams are. I’ve always been pretty self-motivated and self-sufficient. I’ve always set pretty high standards for myself. My dad jokes all the time that he didn’t raise me, he was just a genie going “what do you need?” *poof* “there it is.”

It wasn’t until college that I realized it was ok to ask for help. It was a tough pill to swallow, asking for help, sometimes. I was stubborn and didn’t wanna do it. What I quickly realized in Alpha Gam though is that people want to help. They loved me and knew me better than I even knew myself sometimes. They knew my limits even when I didn’t. They knew when I needed support and when I needed a shoulder to cry on. They knew when I needed to be pushed too.

I’ve always worked hard and tried to go above and beyond the expectations set before me. At a conference I attended, the speaker said: “Be better than the minimum.” That resonated with me. In Alpha Gam, I was required to maintain a 2.5 gpa minimum, complete a minimum of 20 service hours per semester, be actively involved in a minimum of two other campus organizations, and more. The purpose was to grow and be well rounded. The purpose was to help us succeed and be the best versions of ourselves that we could be. In our new member classes, we were taught time management, which has helped me my entire collegiate experience. It was easy to be better than the minimum because they supported me and encouraged me.

I heard once that: “One day, someone will be sitting in the shade because of a tree you thought to plant.” I am sitting in the shade because of what the Alpha Gamma Delta founders planted. I have been blessed with wonderful people and opportunities in part because of what they started. I get to “Live With Purpose” because of a purpose that other Alpha Gam’s wrote. Every Alpha Gam woman has heard “Inspire the Woman. Impact the World.” It was the first thing that caught my attention during my recruitment. I have been inspired so, now it’s my turn to impact the world.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I impact those around me. I pray that I take the knowledge I have been given and the encouragement to go out into the world and make a difference. I pray that I plant a few trees in the world myself. I pray that I water those trees and help others grow. Thank you for giving me the seeds to plant with. I pray that you keep guiding me. Thank you for all I’ve learned. Thank you for making me an Alpha Gam. Thank you for making me brave. Thank you for showing me the strength in asking for help. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I am still that girl.

I wrote this list of things about myself a few years ago. On the list, I wrote things I liked about myself like I jump and scream when I’m really excited. (I used to do this reallyyy embarrassing dance where I clapped. I looked like a seal.) I wrote things I didn’t like that I am hard headed. I wrote funny things like how I cry at the values.com commercials. I wrote things I wanted like a simple life and my nose pierced. (Kinda glad I never got my nose pierced now. I was never a big fan of pain, even if it’s only for a second.) The one that stuck out to me was: “wish I prayed more.” I could have cried. It was literally in the middle of the list, just stuck in there. I felt so proud reading it because this year I did just that. I prayed more.

I’ve heard that if you put positive energy out there and keep moving forward, it will grow. I realized that is what I did by writing that list. A list that just sat there in a box on my desk for years until today. I always believed that if you wanted your dreams to come true, you had to make a plan. A plan that takes you from where you are to where you want to be. The first part in that plan is knowing who you are. In high school, we did these journals in my English classes. One of the prompts was this I am… poem. So, I thought I would do one again.

I am still that girl.

I feel blessed.

I understand my walk with You more.

I will continue to pray more.

I am still that girl.

I see Your love more.

I touch my pen to the paper.

I hear my daddy’s voice in my head.

I say things my mama did.

I pretend to have it all together.

I am still that girl.

I worry I’m not enough.

I dream of walking down the isle to the man you created for me.

I try to bring glory to Your name.

I want to make a difference.

I wonder if I do make a difference.

I hope I make You proud.

I am still that girl.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I am still that girl. I pray that I keep wanting more of you. I pray that I keep praying. I pray that I keep walking towards you. I pray that I keep listening to you. I pray that while I continue to grow, I hold onto some of the girl that I used to be. I pray that I make her proud. I pray that I make my parents proud. Most importantly, I pray that I make you proud. I pray that you forgive me when I stumble. I pray that when I do, I learn from it and move forward. I pray that I stay positive and growing in your love. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

As you light my way, I’ll follow You.

I was going through some of my old notes and found a bunch of my recruitment stuff and conference notes. I knew that my experience in Alpha Gamma Delta would teach me skills that would be valuable, but I didn’t realize how much I would grow. Here are some things I gained from sorority life that can be used in my career life:

  1. The way to keep people interested in your organization is: be positive, be thankful, have fun, and reward.
  2. Why is the most important reason we do anything. To keep people motivated, remind them why they started. People will work harder if they remember what they are getting out of it.
  3. You have to actively recruit the people already in your organization just as much as new people.
  4. Give people options so, they feel a part of the process. Keep them actively involved in decisions.
  5. You have to constantly fill your own cup, that is the only way to help others.
  6. As a leader, you have to drink the koolaid. People will not be interested in what they’re doing if you aren’t. You have to set the example and the expectation.
  7. Strengths are things that invigorate us, not necessarily things we’re good at. Practice makes perfect. Stop focusing on fixing the weakness and concentrate on succeeding in your strengths.
  8. When conflict arises, there are always two sides. Validate their feelings while staying objective.
  9. Organization is key. Always stay on top of deadlines. Takes lots of notes.
  10. Negativity is contagious, but so is positivity. Foster the positivity.
  11. Start meetings with a list of positive things that happened throughout the week.
  12. Support others when they speak and speak with confidence.
  13. Be transparent and set expectations.
  14. Set yourself up for success and be future oriented.
  15. When delivering bad news, state the facts and show you care.
  16. Create opportunities rather than obligations.
  17. Communicate. Ask for ideas. Ask for opinions. Connect with people. You can’t lead if no one follows. They have to be invested and “buy-in.” Know your audience.
  18. Breathe. You are doing better than you think you are.

As I am getting excited for the future and reflecting on all I’ve learned, I know You are the one who holds my future.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I keep growing and learning. Thank you for making plans for me. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for the opportunities I’ve been given. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for the people I’ve met along the way. I pray that I am able to take what I’ve learned and use it for your glory. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Cause we’re only here for a little while.

So, my dad likes to tell me no. He thinks that by telling me no to things he is protecting me or something. Even though, I prove to him how fabulous I am all the time. He likes to use me in stories all the time at church. Usually, they are cute stories. Like the time my parents were fighting and I ran into my bedroom and got my bible and brought it to them and said Jesus said to love each other. Stories like that are cute! I mean, I was adorable!! This latest story he told was about how he wouldn’t let me do the pageant when I was in high school. I apparently was oblivious and didn’t realize the reason he wouldn’t let me was because girls can be mean sometimes. So, my senior year, I told my dad I was doing the pageant and I had saved up to do so. I came home with two trophies: one of three class favorites and Miss Congeniality. To be honest, I really just wanted to get all dressed up. I got some friends to do it with me and we just had fun with it. It’s one of my favorite senior memories. (My hair was flawless that night too!) My dad told everyone how I showed him that when I put my mind to something I can’t be stopped.

So, then why does he still try to stop me??? We were on facetime yesterday. He told me about my brother’s new double bass and how he was learning to play it and how the whole house was shaking. It was cute. I then told him I wanted to learn how to play something too; either the fiddle or the violin or both. He then laughs and proceeds to tell me that I don’t have a musical bone in my body! I responded with that’s the whole reason to learn. One minute my daddy is giving me the Rocky speech about how I can do anything, then he’s telling me I can’t learn! (He is soooo confusing!)

Yet again my daddy didn’t learn. He can’t just go around telling me I can’t because he is the very person that taught me I can. What better time than the present. I’ve been wanting to learn since I was a kid so, why don’t I just go ahead and try? So, he might as well go buy some ear plugs. Maybe this summer I’ll come home with a new hobby. Plus, this 90’s throwback was playing in my head, encouraging me.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I make the most of my time. I pray that I pray what needs praying. I pray that I mend what needs mending. I pray that I walk what needs walking. I pray that I say what needs saying. I pray that I learn new things. I pray that grow closer to you. I pray that I lead others to you. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I keep moving forward. I pray that I use all the talents you have given me for your glory. I pray that everything I do points back to you. I pray for my daddy. I pray that he knows how much I love him. I pray that he knows it’s never to late to learn new things. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’ve seen what faith can do.

My middle name is Faith. I’ve always loved my middle name. (Anddd because I’m a tad bit crazy…) I was on Pinterest and I started thinking about future children’s names. I’ve thought about it before and decided I wanted to share that with my girls. I want them to have middle names like joy or love or charity or something like that. So, I was thinking and I came up with Maisey Grace.

Because my middle name is Faith, I get a daily reminder of what my core is. I get a daily reminder of what keeps me growing and what keeps me grounded. My faith is what keeps me centered. It is what I made of. It is what keeps me going. I was raised in the church and then I made a decision to follow You when I was in the second grade. I chose to get baptized and make that commitment. I keep making that choice every single day. Of course, I’ve slipped and I’ve had doubts, but I’ve seen what You can do. I’ve seen what faith can do.

So, what is faith? Simply believing in what you can’t see? I used to think that’s all it took, but now I realize it’s a little more than that. Jamie in A Walk To Remember said this about her faith: “It’s like the wind. I can’t see it, but I feel it.” I think we can see faith all around us. I think we can see You all around us. I see your love Sunday mornings at church, on Saturday mornings doing community service, at Winter Jam, when someone opens the door for someone else, when my dad drove me all over town for colorguard or FCCLA, when my mama checked me out of school to get my nails done because kids were mean, when my mama walked me down the church isle to tell the children’s director I wanted to get baptized and supported my decision, when my best friend just sat with me when I needed to cry, when some of my Alpha Gam sisters pray for me, when I was a freshman at college and a girl walked me to my class because I was lost, when charity events raise more than they thought they could, and when simple little moments add up to a love story surrounded by You. Your love is all around us. We just have to open our eyes and see it.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I keep seeing the beauty in the little things. I pray I keep seeing you everywhere I go. I pray that I keep seeing your love. I pray that I share your love. I pray that I keep growing in my faith. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I remember that you’re with me always. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You give me hope.

I am 23 years old. I have naturally brown hair, but this year I have dyed it red, blonde, and burgundy. I’m from Leeds, Alabama and attend the University of South Alabama. This year I have changed a lot. I was the president of the Theta Epsilon chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta. My presidency ended in December and to be honest, now I have way too much free time on my hands. I’m used to being a busy bee running around doing everything. There’s this story in Luke 10, I was told as a kid about Mary and Martha. When Jesus came to visit them, Mary sat and listened and took everything in. While, Martha cooked and cleaned and made sure everything was perfect. I am definitely a Martha kind of girl. I am working on it though. I cry at happy things like Hallmark commercials. I’m kinda awkward at times and kinda fabulous at others. My life is practically a musical because I break into song all the time. (The only problem is, I am a terribleeee singer.)

For my CA 260 class, we were asked to write in a blog. We could use our personal ones or start a new one. Honestly it’s a little scary for me to share my personal one. A lot of things scare me though and the reason I started this blog was to get out of my comfort zone and grow closer with You, Lord. This blog has become my prayer journal and a record of my walk with You. It started when I heard the song, Healing Begins. I wanted to find growth. I wanted to learn something.

I think that blogs are for expressing yourself and growing and learning. I think they make us look at things a little differently and from a different perspective. I think we read blogs because we found something we connect with, someone who shares our perspective and thought process, but also teaches us something new. I’ve started reading a couple blogs about growing in your faith. I’ve also read a few about college and sorority life. My Alpha Gam sister just started one too so, obviously I’m reading that. I believe blogs can be used in Public Relations as a branding tool. I think as a Public Relations professional you create brands. I think brands should follow the organizations core values and mission. I think everything should relate and work together. I think it is our job to share that message and brand with the public. I think it is our job as Public Relations professionals to use those tools and brands to make a better community.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I learn to use the tools I am being given to better my future. I pray that I keep growing. I pray that I keep getting closer to you, Lord. I pray for my class and this semester. I pray we work hard and our hard work is rewarded. I pray we learn a lot. I pray we learn from each other and from our textbooks. Thank you for everything I’ve already learned this year. I pray I keep learning. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m keeping my eyes open.

“Holding grudges. Judging others. Hating. Wanting to cause harm. Withholding forgiveness. Gossiping. Ridiculing. Ignoring others. Withholding mercy. Throwing stones. Stop it.” Dieter F Uchtdorf said that. He makes it sound so simple. Just stop. Stop letting others have control over you. Stop letting others affect you. TobyMac posted: “You don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to.” Wow. Why didn’t someone tell me this when I was growing up? Oh wait, my mama did. A rule of being a lady is: “The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. And the first to forget is the happiest.” She tried to tell me over and over to be the bigger person, to let it go. (And boyyy did she try.) I didn’t listen though. When I was growing up, this girl did not like me, no matter what I did. The more she didn’t like me, the more I wanted to be her friend. I had this incessant need for everyone to like me. I tried to find approval where I was never going to get it. One day, I let my friend tell me that I needed to stand up for myself. So, she wrote this awful letter to the girl and I signed it. I knew right then and there that I never should have done it, but I did it anyways. I even felt proud of myself for it. Now looking back, I regret the letter so much. I didn’t understand the person who was always so mean to me. I didn’t see her side. I didn’t handle it the way I should. I stooped to her level. I was just as guilty. “The true mark of maturity is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back.” That is a lesson I’ve definitely learned in college. There are always going to be mean people in the world that don’t like you and they will give you a list of why they don’t like you. I probably will never change their minds or their hearts, but I can certainly change mine. I can’t control their actions or thoughts, but I can control mine. I can control my reaction. Luke 6:45 talks about how the words we speak are what fills our hearts. I can control my words and my heart. Colossians 3:13 says: “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” 

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. If you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

It always shocks me when people hurt me and I lash out because I’m not prepared. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote: “You need to learn to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate.” I need to keep my eyes open. I need to learn how to react better. Tony A Gaskins Jr. said: “Never speak from a place of hate, jealously, anger or insecurity. Evaluate your words before you let them leave your lips.” I have the power to decide what kind of person I want to be. I have the power to decide how I react. I hear, all the time, things like: “The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become.” “When you can’t forgive someone, pray for them. It may or may not change them, but it will always change you.” “If you spend time praying for people instead of talking about them, you’ll get better results.” “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” Maybe now I’ll learn to listen. I need to learn to how to let things go and how to forgive. I need to learn that my happiness is important and lashing out doesn’t make me a better person or a happier one.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I stop all those things. I pray that I stop giving others control over my life. I pray that I stop letting them win. I pray I learn from my mistakes. I pray that I stop stooping to their level. I pray that I stop reacting and start praying. I pray that I keep my focus on you. I pray that I keep my eyes open. I pray that I keep my heart open. I pray that I learn to let the past go. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.