my new favorite stationary


guys, it's almost new years!  i wanted to share with you one of my most simple, yet favorite christmas presents.  i am currently writing letters to friends (remember this post?) because these cards are just beautiful!  guys, go out a buy some beautiful stationary and i guarentee you will write more.

trying to pick which card to put with which envelope has been proving to be quite hard.  maybe i'll just send a combination of each one to all different people!  hey, if you're reading this and want a letter, comment and maybe i'll even send one of my lovely followers a little something.  i just love this stationary so much.

seriously, there are bikes AND maps on these!  two of my favorite things!  also, i obviously need some help with my photography skills.  any tips for a DSLR newbie? 

rva: carytown


every time i come home to good ole' RVA, i always visit this special place.  carytown is a strip of local shops and restaurants and is a very special place for all of us richmonders.  this time i took my momma and we had a splendid time.  i got the new head and the heart record, red j-crew corduroy crop pants, and the fourth harry potter book.  donuts and tea were a given and we even stopped to take a quick look at the old grtc bus stop, which has some of the coolest street art i have ever seen.  take a look for yourself.  and don't worry.  i will be taking em on an adventure day on tuesday, so be prepared for a picture heavy post next week. 

 ^^seriously the best children books ever.  and do you see what the one on the bottom is called?!  it's about knitting!  now you know what to get me for my baby shower in the (far) future.^^

 ^^i just love this city of mine.^^

 ^^how else would you end the day?^^

another christmas post


The most wonderful time of the year.  I enjoy all the lights, music, snow, and the cheerfulness that is in the air.  Christmas time is just plain good.

My love for Christmas goes beyond just this time of the year though.  It's more then just, "let's hustle around buying all the presents at the best deals we can get and eat a bunch of fattening food."  Afterwards I feel like it's a challenge for myself to remember the wonderful humility, wonder, and sacrifice it was for Jesus to come to earth.  I hope to one day do lots of Christmas crafts and fun Christmas-ey things to teach to teach my little students about Jesus' birth.  I want them to know about and grow to love the true meaning of Christmas at a young age.  I don't know what the specific culture's Christmas' will be like when I get to who knows what country, but I'm sure my love for this special holiday will not change one bit!

I had also been talking to my mom about what I will do as far as gifts for my family/Santa will go one day.  I think I don't want to do Santa, as I feel it takes away from the true meaning of the season.  Two things that will never stop are the "ugly" (beautiful in my opinion) sweaters and all of the festive, delicious food.  Food is good.  Even though I will miss my family terribly, I am excited to see what traditions my own family will come up with while we are in another country.  Let's be honest, I'm sure some of them will be quite crazy as I can't seem to stay away from adventure in some shape or form.  I just love being living life to the fullest without a thought of what others may think.  For now, I am so thankful to be able to spend this special season with my family here at home.  I've been able to have such sweet talks with my momma, tease back and forth with dad, and have lots of laughs with brother.

 Brother and I went out adventuring at the pond in our neighborhood today with Charlotte (my new camera).  I feel as though this picture is how my face is most of the time anyway, so thought I'd give you all a real look into my everyday life. 

Also, can it just be socially acceptable for me to wear this sweater the rest of the winter?  I have two more in my closet too that are just dying to be worn a few more times...

just around the river bend


 Am I really almost an ADULT?  I can't believe it's six months away.  It' really only felt like a few weeks since I made that first drive to my dorm, as that timid, shy freshmen.

Life has been flying by me and I don't even know where to start.  Don't worry though.  I haven't actually gotten a job or anything just yet.  I do however have to start that search into the big world (well just the 'Burg for now, the actual World later) for that adult job that must be had to pay bills and such, as adults do. I will be leaving the college/dorm life behind, which will be bittersweet.  I will be so excited to be living on my own and to prepare for my full-time career overseas, but it will be hard to leave the community that has meant so much to me over the past three years.  But it is time to move on.  I am so extremely blessed to have studied under the professors I've had, been poured into by godly men and women, and been surrounded by some of the world's most encouraging people.  I am even more blessed that God has been faithful throughout it all, teaching me things all along the way.

Everyone keeps telling me to savor my last semester, as college years are the "golden years" and it only goes downhill afterwards. At the moment I already feel in over my head most of the time with 18 credits in all upper level classes, RA life, and volunteering at church, all while still trying to maintain a social life.  Ha.  I'm sure that "grown-up" life will give me a whole new meaning of the word "busy." 

The craziness that is RA has I believe finally turned into somewhat of a routine, except for the few mishaps, of course.  I've had to learn how to make time for things other then homework and administrative duties (like reading, blogging, spending time outside, etc.) 

I'm happy to be busy.  And I'm happy that I know that you all share in my business too and can relate.

Hope everybody had a very Merry Christmas celebrating our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! 

it needs cultivation


 501 overlook of the James River through the Blue Ridge Mountains

This is one of the most perfect pictures ever.  
It just so captures the beautiful work of the Master Artist wonderfully.  
I haven't a lot of time recently to be out and about in his beautiful creation as I would like to, but I am prioritizing it into my schedule next semester, because it truly is my favorite thing to do.  

"It is the same way with joy in our lives. We tend to think of joy as something that ebbs and flows depending on life’s circumstances. But we don’t just lose joy, as though one day we have it and the next it’s gone, oh darn. Joy is something that we have to choose and then work for. Like the ability to run for an hour, it doesn’t come automatically. It needs cultivation.
When life gets painful or doesn’t go as we hoped, it’s okay if a little of our joy seeps away. The Bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult seasons of life."

- Francis Chain, Crazy Love


almost there


I am sorry for the lack of adventurous pictures on the blog lately.  My goal was to post at least one, if not two picture heavy, adventure posts every week, but clearly I have been lacking.  But that may be changing soon, as my iPhone won't be my only source of picture taking ;)

I am so excited to finally be able to say that I only have one semester of college left.  It has probably been the hardest semester to date.  It was full of endless papers, a copious amount of coffee, and ALL the late nights having sweet, funny, and slightly delusional conversations with the girls on my hall.  But thank the Lord that He is faithful, constant, and ALWAYS moving even when we can't see it!

This was the first semester that I drank coffee everyday.  Now I must have the cup of delicious cup of magic every morning.  BUT, what got me through even more was time I spent with the Lord and the wonderful people He placed in my life to encourage me.  A time that I could have thrown in the towel, gave up, and declared that the RA, senior, and 18 hours was not for me.  In those moments when I felt like I had nothing left to give to my school, ministry, or friendships, the Lord showed me so clearly that it's not about what I can do anyway.  He gave me all of these blessings (including the homework), and He will be the one who will enable me to handle them and use them to bring Him glory.  I broke down before the Lord MANY times this semester.  Although it was often painful, to finally be able to see His power and be reminded of His promises to me was worth every tear, pain, and hard talks that had to be had.  It was refreshing to be reminded that I don't have to balance everything in my life on my own.  Now that it's all over, I look back and see times that the Lord was working, even though I didn't recognize it at the time.  I love that we can KNOW that He is sovereign and in control.  I can't wait to see what He will do my final semester.  Overall, it was a trying, yet wonderful semester.  Here are some pictures from some of my favorite times.

^^The third and probably the most fun hike of the semester with the awesome possum bro do^^

^^ I am so thankful to have served alongside of these wonderful ladies this semester!^^

^^Charlottesville trip to see this long-haired beauty was so great!^^

^^The best friend that I made all semester, Billy^^

^^Al Ryan, a mediterranean restaurant downtown.  SO yummy!^^

^^We dressed up as them for Halloween hall meeting.  I was pretty spot on^^

^^Our first of many fun tailgates^^

I am truly beyond blessed with some of the funniest, most encouraging friends that there ever was. 

Travels: NYC... maybe?


There is a possibility that I may be returning to one of the most fabulous cities ever at the end of this month.  NYC is such a magical place, and this time I may be returning with my very own camera.  Oh, how I hope this works out.  I have made a list of things I would like to see, do, and eat while there, or whenever I get to return to this beautiful city.  Do you all have any other suggestions for things to do, visit, or restaurants to eat at?  

 to see: central park. purl soho. empire state building. macy's. sunrise on the brooklyn bridge. time's square.
to eat: ellen's stardust diner. little italy. street food.
to drink: cafe grumpy. brooklyn soda fountain.
to shop: h&m. forever 21. buffalo exchange. urban outfitters. madewell.
to get knick knacks: apartment 48. pearl river market.
to satisfy my sweet tooth: magnolia bakery. crumbs bake shop.

More Than Just a Holiday


On Thursday as we sat on the couches and the floor at the coffee table (there were too many of us for the kitchen) eating our Thanksgiving meal, I couldn't help but think of how blessed I am to have such a loving, supporting, and Christ-honoring family.  I've been thinking about praying a lot lately about my attitude of thankfulness, because I know I definitely do not express it enough to the ones I am thankful for or the One who showers blessings upon me.  I think Thanksgiving is a blessing in the sense that we get to spend time with family and get to express what we are thankful for, but on the other hand, what about the other 364 days of the year?  Today, I'm going to share some ways with you that I am working (and praying) on having a thankful mindset all year round.

1. Thankfulness Calendar

I want to start a calendar or journal of sorts where I write one sentence or thing a day that I am thankful for.  I think it would be a sort of memory book that helped me to remember something that had really impacted me that specific day.  I've journaled for the past year and reading through old entries always brings a smile to my face or tears to my eyes to see what the Lord has done in my life.

2. Say "Thank You" More

How many times do we thank those that do everyday things for us whether that be the worker at the dining hall or the cashier at Target?  A couple, maybe.  I'd like to think we all already thank these people, but how sincere are we when we say it?  Is it a habit that you have developed, or is it something that you sincerely and truly mean?  I want to try to thank people more directly for what the service they are doing.  I've worked in retail and at a desk job, and I remember that the times that people thanked me sincerely always made my day and work hours so much sweeter.  

3. Get Crafty!

I know I'm the last person that should be instructing you how to craft, but it could be a fun, visual reminder around your house or in your room of just what you are thankful for.  You can create a board, or even a wall displaying all of the things that you are thankful for.  

4. Write a Letter

Think of someone in your life who has greatly impacted you in some way.  Write them a letter and tell them how they have positively impacted your life.  You can send it to them, or even meet up with them in person and read it out loud to them.  How many people need a few words of encouragement?  Probably everybody!

5. Read Positive Books

I'm currently reading "Kisses for Katie" that is about a woman, close to my age, who went to Uganda to serve the people and children there and ended up adopting several girls who were without parents.  I know as I'm reading this that I realize just how much I take SO many things in my life for granted.  You should all definitely read this book!  It's a great book that truly displays the power and mercy of our great God.

6. Change Your Perspective

I have SO many things to be thankful for, but how many times have I thrown a fit or had a bad attitude because something small, and even big things have been weighing on me?  God is sovereign, and even the trying times in my life have proved to mold me more into the image of His Son.  We may never know or understand why we go through certain things in this life, but I am so thankful that my God has everything under control and He knows what He is doing.  Can I get an "Amen!"?  I have to constantly (if not daily) remind myself of this when I want to take control of situations that aren't going quite ideally.  Thankfully the Lord's thoughts and plans are above my own and they are perfect.  

What are some things that you are thankful for?  Tell me below in the comments! 



This week has been so sweet.  Definitely not a normal week for me.  Lots of relaxing, Varner humor, and catching up on laundry and cooking.  It's nice to feel like I'm only responsible for myself for a little while.  Random, but I took this test that places you in an extrovert, introvert, or ambivert category, and I placed almost right in the middle with 59 points.  Most of the time I think these tests are silly, but I think this one was pretty accurate, especially for us people who didn't think they fit into either an introvert or extrovert category.  I enjoy being adventures, spontaneous, flexible, and living life to the fullest. On the contrary, if I go for a couple of days without time alone whether that be driving alone in the car, reading, writing, or taking a walk, I get really exhausted and frazzled.  I thrive on being social, but recuperate from being alone.  I used to think that to serve to the best of my ability in my different roles as daughter, sister, friend, roommate, RA, I had to constantly be interacting with people, but I've learned that I need time to myself in order to serve and love others to the best of my ability.  Do you all consider yourself and introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, like me?  I think it shows so much about people and I often have that "Aha!" moment when I realize things about their personality. 
Have a great weekend!

Photo Credit: Abbey Deer Photography