Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! I hope you are enjoying some much needed down time + gathering with friends or family. I am busy today going here and there for different things but wanted to take a second to make a list of things I am thankful for. For the past 11 days I have been going through the She Reads Truth Thanksgiving plan and it has really allowed me to think about the things I am thankful for and the times in my life that I have needed to be more thankful. We have so much to be thankful for..even when things in our lives aren't going as we had planned.

T- I am thankful for teaching. I love love LOVE what I do and couldn't imagine doing anything differently. Yes, the days are long and sometimes really really hard. BUT the reward of getting a letter from a student or a hug at the end of the day reminds me that what I'm doing is important. I always tell my students that my job isn't to just teach them academic things, but to also mold them into really awesome little people. They love that I care about their families and that I want to come to their basketball games. They make my job so much fun (even the difficult ones ;) 

H- I am thankful for my health. This is something that I often take for granted. I want to be more conscious about thanking God for my health and the health of my family. 

A- I am thankful for Adam. I could not have married a more perfect man for me. Lord knows any man who can put up with my sassiness is worth keeping ; ) Really though he is an awesome guy and I love being his wife. I have loved watching him navigate his role as a husband..he's really good at it.

N- I am thankful for necessities. I am thankful I have a warm house to live in, a car to drive to work, and food in my cabinets. 

K- I am thankful for kin. Okay.. so I've never actually used that word in real life, but it was the only way to fit my family into the word "thanksgiving" ; ) Anyway--I am so so SO thankful for my family. From my parents, to my brother, to my amazingly perfect niece, to all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins--they all ROCK and I am so blessed to have a close family all the way around. 

S- I am thankful for Southern Simplicity. This little space has turned into so much more than I ever dreamed of. When I sat down 3.7 years ago and wrote my first post I never in 1,000,000,000 years thought it would become what it has. I have made some of the sweetest friendships and have some of the greatest experiences because of this blog and because of YOU. So thank you for believing in me and reading about my pretty normal life ; )

G- I am thankful for grace. Lord knows I need His grace I am so so thankful for my relationship with Christ. I am thankful he completely wrecked my life when I was 18 years old so that I would turn to Him. I am thankful that no matter what stupid thing I've done in the past He still loves me. no matter what. 

I- I am thankful for the internet. This sounds kind of silly, but really.. I'm very thankful for the internet. It's just one of those things I don't know if I could live without.

V- I am thankful for vision. I am thankful for the things I am planning and the things that I'm working on. Big life decisions are happening and I'm so so excited!!

I- I am thankful for investing. For those who have invested in my life and those who have allowed me to invest in theirs. I have made some sweet friendships over the last five years that I have been in Athens and I am so thankful this little city has become my forever (god willing) home. 

N- I am thankful for our new house. Our little "Athens Cottage" as Adam calls it. This house is a total God story and I LOVE THAT. I love that we weren't really even looking to buy and this little house was placed perfectly in our laps. I love that we have had circles of people in our living room learning and talking about Jesus. I love that we have spent our first months of marriage making this house our home. 

G- I am thankful for Carolyne-Grace. As you can tell from my Instagram I'm pretty much obsessed with my niece, Carolyne-Grace. She is one of the greatest things about my life and I am so thankful to be her aunt. She is an amazing little girl who came into our family when we needed her most. She is the most joyful and sweet spirited child I have ever met. In her 3.5 years of life she has taught me more than she will ever know!! 

So those are just a few of the many things I am thankful for. I hope you know just how thankful I am for YOU. I blog because it's fun and it's something I'm passionate about, but knowing there are people who care enough to read my words makes it that much sweeter--so THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

101 in 1001

Earlier today Nicole posted her new list of 101 in 1001. I read through her list and was immediately inspired to create my own. Since I'm off work for Thanksgiving break I had a lot of time to really sit down and create a list that I think I can stick to. A lot of the stuff on my list was taken straight from Nicole (because let's be honest..she's awesome and way more creative then I am ha!) but a lot of them are unique to me : ) Take a look at my list and think about ways you may be able to help me cross some things off! ; )

Start: 11-26-2013
End: 08-23-2016

1. Go on a mission trip.
2. Take a meal to a family that just had a baby. 
3. Go grocery shopping for someone.
4. Lead a college freshmen community group.
5. Babysit a friend’s baby for free so they can have a date night.
6. Buy breakfast for all the teacher’s on my grade level. (Dec 2013; donuts!)
7. Help someone pull off a surprise.
8. Have my students write letters to soldiers. (Nov 2013)
9.  Host a yard sale to benefit a cause.
10. Be someone’s maid of honor.
11. Take Carolyne-Grace to the American Girl store. 
12. Provide Christmas for a family in need. (Dec 2013; Rock Springs students)
13. Complete a service project with my students.  (supplies for the nursing home)
14. Serve as the leader of a committee in my school.
15. Cook dinner for our neighbors. 
16. Send flowers to a friend.
17. Send out 101 letters snail mail style. (0/101)
18. Send a random care package to a friend.
19. Buy goods from at least 5 organizations/small businesses I believe in. (1/5)
20. Rescue a dog.
21. Invest in a friend's dream.
22. Serve the homeless on a holiday.
23. Sponsor a child.

24. Cook dinner every night for a month. 
25. Create a cleaning schedule. (Nov. 27, 2013)
26. Finish decorating our bedroom. (Feb 2014)
27. Finish decorating Adam’s “Georgia room”. (Feb 2014)
28. Have overnight guests in our home.
29. Use Annie Sloan chalk paint on something.  
30. Organize our kitchen cabinets. 
31. Host a wedding shower.
32. Host a baby shower.
33. Meal plan for the entire month. (December 2013)
34. Print and display our Instagram pictures.
35. Hang a map to pin places we've traveled.
36. Buy a new kitchen table/chairs. 

37. Make a wedding album.
38. Go on an anniversary trip.
39. Have a one year anniversary shoot.
40. Surprise Adam with lunch at work.
41. Plan a romantic dinner date for Adam. 
42. Make Adam a present for his birthday. 
43. Have a special date night once a month.
44. Celebrate our dating anniversary with dinner at Porterhouse. 
45. Recreate our engagement day/night. 
46. Have dinner at our rehearsal dinner venue.

[*Future* Baby L]
47. Collect 100 books for Baby’s L’s library. (0/100) 
48. Tell Adam he’s going to be a daddy! (March 25th)
49. Tell our family/friends were expecting.
50. Announce our pregnancy on social media.   
51. Have Nicole film our birth.
52. Choose God parents.
53. Start a college fund. 

[Life with the Leakeys]
54.  Go to some kind of a blog conference.
55.  Make a book of my favorite blog posts.
56.  Surprise a blog friend for a visit.
57. Make blog business cards. 
58. Record a vlog.
59. Work with a blog friend on a project I believe in.
60. Do an update once a month on all my completed tasks.
61. Blog everyday for a month.
62. Write a blog post that goes viral.
63. Raise money on my blog for a cause.
64. Guest post for a blogger.

66. Graduate with my Master’s degree
67. Start my Specialist’s degree
68. Learn how to monogram.
69. Put together a book of 100 verses/quotes. (0/100)
70. Make lesson plans for Teachers Pay Teachers.
71. Be a teacher in my dream school district. 
72. Run the Peachtree Road Race with my dad. 
73.Have people come into my classroom to watch me teach. (Dec 2013)
74.Organize my classroom library.
75. Be social media free for an entire day. (Dec 2013)
76.Be social media free for an entire weekend.
77. Be social media free for an entire week.

78. Visit 5 new cities. (1/5)
79. Get another tattoo.
80. See NYC at Christmas.
81. Walk to dinner from our house.
82. Walk through campus with Adam.
83. Spend a week at the beach.
84. Go to another country. 
85. Mow the grass.
86. Go to Mardi Gras.
87. Take a cooking lesson.
88. Go to the mountains and stay in a cabin.
89. Take the dogs to a dog park. 
90. Ride on a train.
91. Go on a vacation with my whole family. 
92. Go to a NFL game.
93. Visit every SEC football stadium (1/12)
94. Go to Disney World. (June 2014)
95. Go on a trip with friends. (Amelia Island/Jacksonville with Andy + Ashley; Dec 2013)
96. Have a “staycation” in Atlanta.
97. Take a random road trip. 
98. Have dessert before dinner at a restaurant. 
99. Make a day in the life video. 
100. Have a picnic on North Campus. 
101. Speak in front of a crowd of 100+ people.

I will update my list any time I complete something from it so stay tuned : ) Also, I will be using the hash tag #101in1001ssblog to keep track of all my completed tasks on Instagram!

Have you made a list of 101 things in 1001 days? If not, you really should!


This past weekend my friends and I got together to celebrate our friend Breanna who is due with twin boys at the end of February. Breanna's husband Sean is in the Air Force and they are stationed in Texas so it was REALLY great getting to see Bree (& her growing belly!)  

It's always so much fun getting together with friends from high school. I have been friends with all of these girls since 6th grade (some even longer than that!) 

Owen + Bryce racked up on lots of goodies. I can't wait to meet my "nephews" ; ) 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's {Senior} Saturday in Athens!

because there is no university worthy of such envy, 
no tradition worthy of such loyalty as the university of georgia...

Our Leaders
from Georgia Football on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

ChelDesigns Chevron Magnetic Picture Frame

A few weeks ago Chelsea from ChelDesigns contacted me about reviewing one of her customized magnetic picture frames. I checked out her Etsy site and decided to design my own chevron with monogram frame. I chose colors that would compliment our new home : ) 

Not only is the picture frame adorable, it also looks really great in our kitchen.

Chelsea was great to work with and shipped my picture frame super fast (considering she created the entire thing custom for me.)

Check our ChelDesigns on Instagram (@cheldesigns) and Etsy. These frames make GREAT Christmas presents!! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

no spend november {update}

at the beginning of the month i decided i wanted to challenge myself to not spending any money on myself. the first week or so went great--i wasn't interested in buying anything & i was presented with multiple opportunities to bless others! as i was driving to north carolina this past weekend though i started thinking.. not spending any money isn't exactly what my heart needed. spending money on myself isn't the issue. not blessing others and spending money on myself instead is the issue. my selfish desires were getting in the way of me being a good steward of my money. as we step into the be rich season at church and we focus on following paul's command in 1 timothy 6:18 "to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share" i realize that banning myself from spending money isn't going to solve the problem in my heart. it's much bigger than taking hold of my selfishness. so far we are 14 days into november. i have already been given opportunity after opportunity to bless others in ways i was not prepared for. i have had the privilege of shopping with my husband for 2 sweet kiddos at my school who come from homes that can't provide christmas, i've been able to donate to a sweet family's adoption by buying a t-shirt, i've been able to go shopping with my small group for action ministries in athens to buy supplies they are in need of, etc. etc. etc. the amount of money i have spent on myself has remained low and it's not because i told myself i wasn't allowed to spend any money. it's because i rather spend my money on things that matter. things that will help other people. this is not about proving to myself that i can live on less this is about giving myself to god and experiencing the joy of serving others. 

{click picture for source}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

bachelorette weekend in clt

this past weekend i traveled up to charlotte, north carolina for my college roommate's bachelorette party. i have been to charlotte a few times and LOVE it so i was excited to be going back!

friday night we had a delicious dinner followed by a few episodes of eric+jessie (my guilty obsession)

saturday we spent the day shopping then headed into charlotte to check into our hotel. after being at the wrong hotel, booking the hotel for the wrong night AND only one room we finally made it to the correct hotel, got the night changed, and had them add another room ; ) gotta keep things interesting! 

we hung out at the hotel for a while having fun getting ready and playing a few fun games ; )
we finally made it out to dinner around 10pm then spent the rest of the night out in charlotte! 
we had SO much fun--and our bride had even MORE fun!!
i loved getting the spend the weekend with great friends celebrating an amazing roomie!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

five on friday

happy friday, y'al!
weeks seriously fly by for me.. when you're in charge of 25 eight and nine year olds everything is just one big blur. thank god. 
i'm linking up for five on friday again this week!

1) i know i've talked about this 5 million times but i really.really.REALLY. loved the james study on she reads truth. i was really sad for it to end. if you haven't done it you NEED to. it was too good.

2) no spend november hasnt been as hard as i anticipated.. until i had to go to the mall yesterday to get a present. ugh. i don't want to have the desire for stuff. but i do and this month is certainly necessary to show myself that i dont NEED any of the "things" i think i do. this isn't about being legalistic and spending absolutely no money.. it's about proving to myself that i can go to a store and purchase EXACTLY what i walked in to get and not 65 other things. it's about using my money to bless others instead of myself. it's about getting my heart right.

3) i am heading out right after school today to go to charlotte, nc for the weekend! one of my college roommates lives there now and we are all going up for the weekend for her bachelorette party! so so so excited! just wish bre would be home so i could see her--too bad we're switching states for the weekend and she'll be in atlanta! 

4) if you havent joined in the #joyfilledhomechallenge on instagram hosted by my bff nicole + michaela you need to asap. i have already found so much joy in my home by doing this challenge. it has taught me to find joy in the unfinished, in the "not exactly how i want it". it has helped me see how wonderfully blessed i am.

5) i am loving this saying. sometimes i get so caught up in making sure my students are on top of their game and completing all their work and being quiet and following directions that i forget they are just kids. i've put a lot of effort this week into just letting them be little. sometimes you just need a movie and games and free time and extra recess.

and since i'm a rule breaker i'm throwing in a number 6...
i saw this article yesterday and thought it was pretty spot on. take a second to read it. there are so many good points made. i always think this about things like human trafficking.. it's a bad thing and i know there are people who have truly devoted their lives to seeing it end and i don't want to discount that. but. there are others who are only interested because it's the "cool" thing to support right now. i want everything i say and do to be because i want to be closer to jesus not just so i look and act and sound like everyone else i go to church with. 

happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


like i mentioned yesterday i am in a season of focusing on things that are truly necessary. ridding my life of excess. i watched this breakaway podcast a few weeks ago and think it goes along great with my quest for joy + being content. in this season of thanksgiving i think it's really important to take a step back and evaluate our motives. whether you're struggling being content with the things you have or the season of life you're in, we could all learn a little something from this sermon so check it out and let me know what you think!

also--i wanted to share that the college bible study i lead just started a new 13 day bible study from she reads truth called thanksgiving. it's the plan from this time last year but it is AMAZING and really helps focus your thanksgiving on the lord--and goes right along with finding joy and being content.


Monday, November 4, 2013

no spend november

over the last month I have really been focusing a lot on joy. At church we have been doing a series called the immeasurable life which is centered around ephesians 3:20 (now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within in us) and the idea that the immeasurable life can only be found through living a life that glorifies god. I have also been doing the james study on she reads truth which has really revealed a lot to me about the way I spend my time and the "things" that I value as important. For the past week I have also been doing the john piper quest for joy study. all of these things have one central theme in common--living a life that honors god will ultimately bring joy to my life. 

All of these things combined have led me to a place where I feel it's necessary for me to have a month of no spending. I need to re-center my focus and re-evaluate what I view as necessary. I have a horrible habit of being "swipe happy" without even giving a second thought as to what is in our bank account. I know this only leads to destruction. I don't want my joy to be wrapped up in things of this world. I want my treasure to be stored up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). 

So what exactly will this look like for me? Obviously I can't spend $0...we have a mortgage and bills to pay, I have a car payment, I have to buy gas to get to work, we need groceries, etc. but what I don't need are random things from Target, Chick-fil-a breakfast on Fridays, bath and body works candles, or clothes. As Nicole put it yesterday when I was talking to her about it.. this isn't a legalistic thing, it's about my heart being right. My goal is to spend $0 on myself--on things that are of this world. 

I'm praying so deeply that God would use this time to heal me of the guilt I have associated with my consumption of STUFF. I pray God gives me opportunities to bless others with the resources that I usually use on myself. 

I just want a joy filled life that glorifies God.

Friday, November 1, 2013

five on friday

TGIF, y'all! My friday actually started two days ago ; ) I am currently sitting on our balcony in jacksonville, florida. We came down last night for the weekend for the georgia/florida game. I am so thankful for a few days of R+R with my hubs. It is so needed. 

I'm linking up for five on friday today.

(1) I have been doing two bible studies recently. One for the college small group I lead and I have also been doing the james study from she reads truth. The study I've been doing this week with my small group is called a quest for joy by john piper and it is SO good. It actually goes along pretty well with the she reads truth james study, which is nice! If you are looking for a good bible study I would check both of these out! (the quest for joy study is on the bible you version app and is only 7 days so it's a great one to start with if you aren't sure about it!)

(2) I found this card at target this week and thought it was the greatest thing ever. As soon as adam and I got married people immediately started asking us when we were going to start a family. I thought it would be funny to cause a little riot on IG. I got a phone call immediately from my best friend and grandma who did not watch the video and only saw the front ; )

(3) I love this mini hoop art. like a lot.

(4) If you are on instagram you need to check out nicole + michaela's november challenge #ajoyfilledhomechallenge. I am so excited to really focus on our home and the joy it brings to my life. I am intentionally going to focus on the joy of the unfinished.

(5) There are only 8 weekends until Christmas. This makes me all kinds of excited. Christmas with a husband makes my heart go crazy. I cannot wait to create new traditions as a family of 2!