June 30, 2013

a good weekend.

You know those weekends where you just have a good one? Nothing super spectacular happened...just a good, relaxing, wholesome weekend with friends?  That's what I had, and ya'll, it was wonderful.

There is a beautiful town in North Carolina called Beaufort and if you asked me to move there tomorrow, I probably would.  It is such a quaint, little town on Taylor Creek that is fed off of the Beaufort Inlet Channel which leads to the Atlantic. 

Anyways, we drove down to the Morehead City/Atlantic Beach/ Beaufort area, checked into our hotel and went to eat at the Ruddy Duck Tavern. 



I love this place and always have since the first time I visited there. I knew I had to take Olivia.  Amazing fried shrimp, a beautiful view of the water, and a fun place to dive into a true beach lifestyle.  We went back that night and tried to plan our weekend.  Emphasis on the word "tried". 

We woke up the next morning to some halfway-pretty/ halfway-icky weather.  In other words, not my ideal Vitamin D soaking weather.  The waves were crazy (4-6 ft waves reported), kinda gloomy, but we trekked our way out there. Beach chairs, towels, sunscreen, and all (yes mom, I did put my sunscreen on).

After a while, we got a few droplets of rain.  We decided to stop the beach thing for a while and drove to Beaufort.  We had lunch at this wonderful place called Taylor's Creek Grocery.  I had a BLTA. The "A" is avacado.  Never again will I just have a BLT...there will always be an "A". Miss "A" has officially been married into my BLT forever.  Yes, you may now kiss your bride Mr. BLT. 



We walked town, did some window shopping, and decided to head back to the hotel to relax a little.  We ended up meeting our college friend Jonathon in Beaufort later that evening.  Clawson's Restaurant for dinner was great.  More shrimp for me. More shrimp for her. All was good with our hearts.



Such a fun little restaurant.  Makes me love North Carolina even more.  After dinner we walked around town (AKA...trying to make more room in our stomachs) while oohing and ahhing over the yachts that were docked.  Let me tell you...I need to figure out what they do...because I know that my career goals are not going to buy me a 106 ft yacht, at least not yet (a girl can dream...right?) 



We decided on some ice cream from the General Store in town. Ice cream is always a good beach dessert.  No questions asked...well maybe by my mountain girl Olivia.  They obviously don't teach them how to eat ice cream up there in the mountains. She a strugglin'.



On Sunday morning, we were invited to go to church with Jonathon, his family, and a good agriculture teacher friend in the area.  They attend a Pentecostal Holiness Church.  Can I just say that the service was a bit different than I was used to, but all in all, I learned, I experienced, and have an even better view of the ways people worship the Lord. We all worship differently and that is okay.  I am so glad that I got to be there to worship our Lord with some of my closest friends.  

I needed this weekend with friends.  It is always fun to explore the different parts of the North Carolina, especially our  beautiful coastline. So fun. So beautiful. So, Beaufort, we will meet again!





June 27, 2013

there is PEACE in the storm.

Life is beautiful and more often than not I take it for granted. Do you?


Horrible Storm in Raleigh

Two weeks ago there was a horrible storm in Raleigh.  Tonight, there was another one. These storms scare me, they ruin homes, they destroy people's lives.  Storms in the weather happen all the time, but sometimes we forget that constructive criticism, breakups, sickness and death are forms of storms that happen in our personal lives too.

but I know that life is beautiful...so why are there storms? 

Good question.  I feel like when you love someone or something, they shouldn't hurt you...right? Most of us feel that way. We may question God why something happened or is happening in our lives.  Why is a family member suffering from cancer?  Why do friendships have to be so difficult sometimes?  Why is my work challenging me today? Why does my heart have to suffer through all this?   

Mark 4: 35-41 and Jennifer Rothschild in Missing Pieces struck a chord with me tonight.  The events that happened today in my life led me to asking questions...questions that come from fear. Jennifer Rothschild had this statement and I underlined it in my study book, 

"Don't let your fear take you there.  Instead, take God as He is and trust that He cares because he is in the boat with you." (pg.17)

I have an amazing support system of friends and family and I only hope that you do too.  It is a blessing to have these people in our lives while we live on this earth.  We use them as sounding boards and use their advice for guiding our lives. I also know it is time for me to start adding a little bit (actually a lot more) of God in my life.  When the disciples were being scaredy cats on the boat in the storm, God was asleep.  They should have known he would have kept them safe.  I should have known he would keep you and I safe through the storms. I know I'm not much different from the disciples...I am a big, fat scaredy cat (in personal and weather related storms...anyone else with me?). He is in the boat of our storm...steadying our heart and bringing us a peace that is so desperately needed.  He won't give us more than we can take. He promises that.


Beautiful Bay  with sun and a boat pier

There is always a peace after the storm. God gives us peace in many ways...and tonight he gave me peace through a phone conversation.  We should always know He is there...just as He calmed the storm and comforted the disciples, He calms us too.   God speaks to us personally in prayer but he also uses people on this earth as an agent for him (see...He does use modern technology ;)

After tonight, am confident that life is really beautiful...especially with Him as our captain. I hope you can see that too!

P.S.  Are you interested in studying the Missing Pieces Bible Study by Jennifer Rothschild? It's not too late to start...let me know and you can be part of our group (you don't have to be here physically...we can talk online...you would just need to pick up the book!) 



June 26, 2013

exciting news!

The past 2 days have been crazy...actually...take that back...the past 2 weeks have been crazy. A lot of change has been going on in my life, in some of my friend's lives, and especially in the life of a girl that I have grown to love since I was teaching at St. Pauls High School.  

Everyone...meet Danielle. Our friendship has developed all because I sent her a text message asking if she wanted to go to dinner with me.  We had both moved to the area at the time and needed a friend.  Our first friend date was at Chili's, we shared the 2 for $20 deal...and the rest is history from there.


Here is my other friend and the special someone she likes to call her child.

Meet Tyson. 

Officially the cutest boxer I know. The best part about her having a boxer is that I have always loved these dogs. Hopefully, having him around will satisfy my want for a dog. Who knows?  It's definitely worth trying. 


So...to get to the nitty gritty. Two weeks ago I got a phone call saying that she got a job in the Raleigh area.  I was so excited for her! Fast forward to this week....

On Monday morning she called for some housing advice.  
On Monday afternoon we decided we needed to be roommates.  
On Tuesday I checked out an apartment we were both interested in.  
On Tuesday afternoon I paid our fees and filled out applications.  

So, if you haven't picked up what I have been putting down so far... this means I will be moving in August and will have 2 new roommates!!!

I cannot wait to share more stories with ya'll! Any advice for moving?


June 25, 2013

missing pieces.

It's amazing how quickly we can fall away from those we know...how quickly we can be scared of what is happening...and how quickly we can let the power of worry and anxiety take over our lives.  

Anxiety. Worry. Fear.

It's a huge part of my life...any other ladies with me?  

Let's face it, women are multi-taskers.  We are born and bred to have babies, take care of them, work a full time job, keep the house clean, do laundry, cook...oh wait...did I forget something? 

Probably.

While most women thrive off of this lifestyle...we still find that time to complain about it...to worry about it when God has truly overflowed our cup of blessings. We complain when he has graciously given us a healthy family, a roof over our head, and food to feed our families.  God provides when we need it most, yet, it isn't enough for most of us.

Lately my love with my Savior has been a passionate love...I have missed Him.  He never left me, but I sure wasn't with Him. 

Am I the only one that has one night stands with God? One day in love...the next day not so much? 

Life has challenged me. It has challenged you.  We question why things happen the way they do.  We all have "missing pieces". 

Now, look at the picture below. Can you guess what that is? 
My Childhood Blanket "Pinky"

If you guessed a blankie, you would happen to be correct.  (for those that read my blog in the morning, I hope that wasn't too challenging ...if so, please grab that second cup of coffee.  trust me, I will too :)

So this blankie, AKA "my pinky" has been my childhood blanket since I was born.  A sweet friend made it for me and still to this day, 23 years later, I cuddle up with it every night. Ya'll, I am a grown woman and I still cuddle with him every. single. night (wait... how did "pinky" become a male? good question...but that is another story for another day)  

My "pinky" has been through a lot...he looks great, but that is because my mother took him away from me one day and repaired him.  At one point, there was no stuffing, the edges were un-sewn, and he was falling apart. I took him everywhere with me.  He kept me safe in thunderstorms, played outside, made the best forts in the world, and has even comforted me in times of sadness today.  He still rides in my carry on everywhere I travel. 

He had and still has missing pieces.

I have missing pieces.


Missing Pieces Bible Study Book

When I thought everything was falling to pieces, my office mates Amanda and Karen recommended starting a Bible Study.  Amanda found this great Bible study by Jennifer Rothschild called Missing Pieces

Tonight I started this Bible study and the author Jennifer told me to wrap myself up in my blanket...let it protect me...even though there are holes and missing pieces.  She wasn't talking about my actual blankie, she was talking about the blanket of faith.  

Just as the book cover says, "God provides real hope when life doesn't make sense".  It doesn't mean that nothing will hurt along the way, that it will all be easy peasy. If we can just trust and give it all to Him, He will protect us.

After all, He paid the ultimate price.  He died on the cross and all that He asks is that we trust and follow Him.

What a beautiful love.

June 24, 2013

the girl behind the blog.

If you have been reading this blog for a while now...you probably already know who I am. My name is Kara...don't know how to pronounce it?  Just take a look below. This is how my parents taught me to teach others how to pronounce my name.  
Simple...right?



How did my parents come up with it?  I don't really know...I never have asked.  I think my dad liked it, so that's what they decided on.  Never in my life have I wanted to change my name...I actually kind of like it. People remember it very easily...they just can't ever pronounce it.  

Lately I have been interested in what it means and these are few things that I found.

Kara means pure.

"People with this name tend to be orderly and dedicated to building their lives on a solid foundation of order and service.  They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick-tempered with those who do not.  Their practical nature makes them good at managing and saving money, and at building things in the material world.  Because of their focus on order and practicality,they may seem overly cautious and conservative at times.  

"People with this name have a deep inner desire for love and companionship, and want to work with others to achieve peace and harmony."

source

Wow. That couldn't be anymore true.  

Now...you may be looking at my blog name, twitter handle, and instagram.  Ms. Kara Belle.

That's my nickname.  

Ever since I can remember my dad and close family friends called me Kara Belle.  I added the Ms. because at the time I was working as a teacher.  The crazy thing is that Christopher's last name was Bell.  Crazy to believe...I know.  When we were dating and he had first heard me called Kara Belle...it kind of shocked him.  I can see why.  

I never based my social media names off of his last name.  I have always loved being Kara Belle...so that's why my blog url and social media accounts are mskarabelle.  It's me.  It's who I am...and it is what I have been always called.  




I hope you enjoy your name as much as I do... take some time and look to see what it means.  You may find out something you didn't know before.  



June 20, 2013

my heart is heavy...yet so full.

This past week I went through something that I never thought I would have to go through again.  I cried...a lot. I searched for answers...but could not find any.  My heart was heavy and hurt...yet so full.  

God has a reason for everything and most days I look up towards the sky and just picture him laughing...crying...and comforting all of us.  We all go through tough times and wonder why is He treating us like this.  Why is he hurting our heart?  We become angry.  We weep.  We look for answers.  

The person that was one of the closest people to my heart is no longer something that I can call mine.  God had a bigger plan...and right now I don't know what that is.  It hurts me not knowing...it makes me tear up.  It breaks my heart every moment I think about it.  

My heart is heavy...I'm worn.

This past week I did one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life.  




"If you love something...set it free.  If it comes back, it was meant to be. If it continues to fly, let it soar and have faith that God has something better in store."

It doesn't feel real...or maybe I just don't want it to be. 

Last night was comforting; it took a leap of faith, strength, and courage.  Sometimes you need a reminder of the beauty that God has graced this earth with.  Even when I thought I didn't have the strength, God provided a way. There is no doubt he takes care of his children.  

This week was the 85th North Carolina FFA State Convention and being surrounded by thousands of blue FFA jackets is comforting in times of sadness.  Every day I am comforted that my family is at least 20,000 members strong.  We are there for each other...we hold each other in times of sadness and in times of joy. It is really quite a beautiful thing.  

Watching those that I love dearly succeed in the FFA makes me smile even more.  Even though my sister's Nursery Landscape team placed 2nd and isn't traveling to nationals...she became a stronger person today.  It's tough to get told no...but it's makes you try even harder. I hope she understands that.

Being an agriculture teacher was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences that I ever had.  Watching all of my best friends grow, teach, and mentor all of their students makes me smile each and every day.  Maybe I will be back in the classroom some day...I will leave that one up to the Lord.  



I may not be in the classroom, but my heart will always be with FFA.  I promise to support it in any way that I can. In 2006, when I said the FFA creed for my first time, never did I think that this organization would change my life.  It has brought me a greater love for people, a stronger love for family, and hope for my future. I have been blessed to be taught by some of the best, to learn from those that have succeeded in our industry.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about those moments.  I have seen North Carolina agriculture...I have seen talented FFA members...I have had my heart filled with some of the most beautiful people. Watching those that I love grow up in this organization makes my heart even more full. I hope they realize all that God has in store for them too.  



So...today Lord. I thank you.  Thank you for making my heart full.  I understand that there a going to be times of sadness, times of hurt, and even times of sharp and udder pain.  I know you are there, I can feel you, and this week you proved that to me...and for that...I couldn't be more thankful.  





June 15, 2013

sound of your voice.

"He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.  He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.  " Psalm 147: 3-5


Heavenly Father. Creator. Magnifier of all things.

Today I am asking for your healing...for you to cling to my heart, heal all wounds, and to help rid me of the weakness that is in my heart this evening.  Tonight, I want to know you more,  I want my heart to cling to you.  Those days that I left you and stood you up, you were still there with your watching eye. You have always been there, but I haven't always been there for you. You always wait for me...and most days I choose to never show up.  

Call me to your Word...call me to those that need me as much as I need them.  Let us be there for each other, wrapped in the beauty of your words.  Let me serve you while I am waiting...because you mean so much more.  

"I ran away from your love...but you waited for me. Yes...you waited for me." 

I am here...waiting...ready to follow.

ready to listen to sound of your voice.  

June 9, 2013

exploring agriculture.

I have been so busy lately...well, as busy as a girl that lives by herself can be.  

I like to travel...and recently it has been a huge part of my life.  I wish I would have taken more pictures of my recent travels...but after a while, farmland looks the same

This past week  I crossed 3 new states off my bucket list (Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri) and visited 5 in total! I had the opportunity to ride with one of our area sales managers and he taught me so much about agriculture in his region.  We visited a lot of fun local places, took very few bathroom breaks, and enjoyed some amazing food.

Day 1: woke up at 3:00am. drove to RDU. flew to ATL. landed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. got in the truck and drove all the way to West Monroe, Louisiana. we visited a few customers along the way.

While in the airport, I heard some noise.  Yes. This is a bird. IN THE MIDDLE OF MY GATE. Oh the things you see while traveling.


We visited a co-op in southern Louisiana and I noticed the owner sold Purina feeds.  My parents collect Purina memorabilia and he gave me this hat to give to my parents.  Crawfish bait made by Purina! They seriously make a feed for everything!


I also got to visit with friends Lauren and Alex at a great little ice cream place!  I definitely have a new Blue Bell ice cream favorite...I'm a Blue Bell girl for life.

Day 2: woke up. visited Duck Commander (Duck Dynasty warehouse...I just wanted to say that I visited there). got some t-shirts. hit the road again.  drank too much iced tea. visited a cool antique shop. drove through some sketchy towns.  told the sales rep about my family. vice versa. visited some customers. drove through Arkansas and Mississippi. stayed in Memphis, Tennessee for the night. 

Enjoying Duck Commander with all the other crazies!



He took me to this great little restaurant that I absolutely fell in love with. It would have made a great little feed store! (ideas for my future)



Day 3: woke up and was on the road by 7:15 am. drove into Arkansas. visited a couple of customers. went to Missouri. visited some customers. visited the sales rep's farm. flew out of Memphis. got delayed. landed at RDU late at night.

My travels with all of our sales reps have been great. While I was a student and teacher in agriculture education, my family was huge.  When moving to the agriculture chemical business, I was worried that it would change and I wouldn't feel that same family atmosphere.  Well, I was wrong...my agriculture family has grown and now I am learning the foundation of agriculture...cultivating the land and growing crops across the land that we live on. Our sales managers challenge my knowledge of the company, teach me all about agriculture, and give me advice that any parents or grandparents would give.  I am more than blessed to be part of this industry.