Wednesday, July 13, 2016

still good

Hi everyone!

One thing that this blog has been to me in the past nine years I've have been on here is that its always good to look back on what I've posted and see how far I've come. It's like a book I've been writing of my life the past decade.  This blog has been with me through the good times, and the really bad times.  My Dad and I were talking the other night, and he told me something that I had never really thought about.  He said "Grace, you know back a few years ago, you were writing things on your blog that were really good, and really true, as an encouragement to other people out there. But now, look at you.  You've actually been through the difficult times that you were trying to help other people through.  Now, I'm not saying that the things you said a few years ago weren't true...but it's like they have a new meaning now."

That hit me, and I've been thinking about it ever since he said that.  Have you ever met someone who has really been there for you in hard times, continually telling you that God is going to be there for you, and that He always loves and cares for you....but in the back of your mind, you're thinking "This person has never gone through any hard time- how can she/he say those things are true? How do they know? They have no idea what I'm going through!"

Sound familiar?

Well technically I was the encouraging person when I really started blogging on here.  All the things I said were true, and still are. But now I've been through a extremely rainy season of my life the past year, and I've had the chance to put my faith to the test.  Let me tell was not easy.  Gosh it wasn't easy.  So many times I was upset at God.  Why me? What had I done to deserve what I was going through?

But now, looking back on the past year, I can say one thing.  God is still good.  Let me tell you that again.

God is STILL good!!

If you are going through one of those rainy seasons of your life...I can now tell you that I've been there.  I've walked through the storms.  It wasn't in any way easy.  But please trust me when I say that God is there for you.  He's there for you to open up and cry out to Him.  He listens.  I know that it seems like He's not, that He's just some random thing up in the sky that doesn't care in the least about your life or your situation.  That is so not true.  He cares about every aspect of your life.  And I know a billion people have told you "There's a reason why you're going though this".... but it's true.  We may never know what that reason is, but just know that He has your best interest at heart.  He adores you.

In 2007 when I started this blog, I told you that I loved Jesus and that He was good.

Now in 2016, as a young woman who is about to start college, and has had her fair share of difficult chapters in life, I'm here to tell you that God is still good.

He was, is, and always will be good.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

senior pictures

Hi guys!!

How is everyone?? I'm doing good! So much has gone on just in 2016 (and by the way, how is it already May 1st!?).  One of the biggest things is that I'm about to graduate high school! I received a music scholarship to a school about an hour from my house.  I just wanted to post a few of my senior pictures that I got taken by my Mom, and also some I got taken by a friend of mine who has a photography business.  I'm so happy with how they turned out!

I can't believe I'm about to graduate high school.  I'm almost 18! How is that possible?  High school was definitely a roller coaster- lots of ups and downs.  But these past few years have grown me in ways I never thought were possible! I've become more independent, more outgoing, and I've grown in my relationship with Christ.  Even though these past few years have been difficult, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Here are some pics taken by my Mom :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

my thoughts

oh my!!

I'm so sorry I've not posted in so long.  It's been a very long summer/fall and I blinked and it's December and I haven't posted since May!!

If you read my last post, my family was going through a rough time in late May.  That "rough time" turned into the hardest situation my family has ever been through over the summer.  To say it got better would not be the truth.  Each day brought new struggles, and more friends turning their backs on my family because of gossip being spread around.  It was a very,very hard summer.

We did have some high points though!  I was able to visit my friend Blaine and go on a work week trip with her church in Tennessee.  We helped out with a VBS for special needs adults, and helped a church with their outdoor chapel.  At the end of the trip, we were able to go white water rafting, which was fun.

I got home on a Friday after being gone a week, and the day after that we left to drive to Atlanta, spent the night there, then flew to my favorite place in the world....

San Francisco!!

Because we had had some hard past few months, my Dad wanted us girls to just get away from the drama and go have fun.  We were there for about two weeks.  I turned 17 while I was there, and it was just the most amazing trip with my Mom and little sister.

October we took our annual trip to Canada.  This year, we decided to drive with my was good, but a long long drive- almost 2,000 miles one way.  I can't go into detail about everything that happened, but to give you a cliff note version...

~ saturday, the first day we were there, we were all starting to get sick. A bad cold and fever was running through the family

~monday- the first day my dad went hunting with our dogs, one of the english pointers, (dad's favorite) w.c., ran off. We have electric collars to prevent this from happening since our dogs are such big runners, but w.c.'s was a faulty collar (this was one of the first times dad had used it), and he was gone.  Dad loaded up and went looking, but there was no sign of him anywhere.

~tuesday-everybody is full-blown sick.  Cough, colds, fever, aches, chills...just everything.  still no sign of W.C.  at this point, the word had been spread that he was missing.  we go to a very rural part of Manitoba, so the farmland is just huge up there.  We were depending on the farmers who were harvesting to possibly spot him or hoping he'd run up to a farmhouse

~wednesday- we got some absolutely awful news.  Ripley, the father of our puppy, Fraulein, was out hunting with my Dad and a friend.  Dad has a huge covered trailer that he uses for decoys, and he was driving slowly out of the field, picking up decoys along the way after the hunt.  For some reason, to this day we don't know why, Ripley ran underneath that trailer, and Dad accidentally ran over him.  He broke his back and was killed instantly, without any pain.  Ripley was the sweetest dog we've ever had.  He didn't have a mean bone in his body.  It felt like I had lost a sibling when my dad told us, with tears streaming down his face, what had happened.  That was the worst day. I was able to kiss him goodbye and get his collar off before we buried him.
 Still no sign of W.C.  At this point, all of us are sure that something had happened to him.  He's a skinny bird dog, which the big coyote's up there could totally wipe out, not to mention he hadn't had food for three days and it was below freezing at night.

~thursday- I was starting to feel better, and needed to get out of the house to get my mind off of everything that happened within the first four days we had been there.  Dad felt the same, so we went hunting.  We had a wonderful time with each other and the dogs, and it was just great.  Dad shot really well and killed 4 ruffed grouse.  That night we had been invited for dinner at a friend's home.  Right before we left, my dad checked his phone and had three missed calls from an unknown number...again someone tried calling, dad answered, and all I remember dad saying was "where do I need to go?"  Someone had spotted W.C.! Us girls went to the friend's home to wait while Dad went looking.  We got the call about thirty minutes later, "WE GOT HIM!"  W.C. was found, safe, without a scratch on him, all thanks to God for keeping him safe and the amazing community for spreading the word and looking for him. My dad immediately took him back to the farmhouse and put him in our nice and warm insulated dog trailer and fed him a little bit.  

The next few days W.C. spent inside, slowly working his appetite back up and I'm happy to say that he is now his normal self again :) I'm so thankful for him.  It was a God Thing.

So by about Saturday all of us had gotten over our colds and started to see friends and visit places.  That whole next week we spent visiting and shopping and having a good time.  Then, that next Saturday, my Dad decided we'd leave the following Tuesday.  So we were packing as much in as we could!  Saturday afternoon, we had tea with friends at a fundraiser in town.  I had an egg salad sandwich and tea.  That night, we went to our friend's home for dinner, and I started to feel awful....

I had gotten food poisoning from the egg salad sandwich (literally typing that out makes me sick.  lol)  I was throwing up all Saturday night, and it was Tuesday afternoon before I ate half a sandwich.  I lost 7lbs the first night I was sick.

So, we drove back and made it home safe and sound.  Whew!!

This entire year has just been a whirlwind.  We've had a whole lot of bad mixed in with good. But I can honestly say that God is good.  God is good.

I'm thankful for my parents, my little sis, and all of our precious furry babies.  I'm thankful for our friends that have stuck by us through our difficult season, and also to God for showing me the friends that weren't on my side.  I'm thankful that God has protected us and has always been there, constantly.  He will never leave nor forsake us.

That's all for tonight!   I'm going to post pictures from our summer and trips soon!

Love you all!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

the cloudiest of days

I once remember talking to a friend of mine on the phone one evening. This friend was going through a very rough time, and I remember him telling me "Grace, one thing that I like about you is that you are so optimistic, even through the worst of times."

That was only a few months ago.

I don't think the same thing could be applied right now.

I told you guys about the struggles my family has had in my past posts.  We just moved back into our house two weeks ago, and I finally thought things would slow down and go back to normal.  That was definitely not the case.

My family was hit with one of the most hurtful and devastating things just last Wednesday.  One person that was very close to me and my family walked out on us...for good. We've since found out a lot of what this person was saying behind our backs about our family (as a whole and individually) and let me tell you...they are some of the biggest lies I've ever heard.  To say I'm hurting right now would be an understatement.

This person was someone that I told everything to, and that played a big role in my life.  It hurts that she doesn't ever want to come in contact with me or any other member of my family ever again.

Tonight I was brought back to what my friend told me- "You are so optimistic."

Believe me, the past week especially, the last thing I've been is optimistic.

Ever since last Wednesday, I feel like God hasn't been there.  I feel like this was one more blow against me and my family, and honestly I felt like I couldn't take it anymore.  I wish that our horse never went blind, that our house never flooded, that my grandmother was never diagnosed with dementia, and that this person so close to my family never walked out on us.

I've been so overwhelmed.

I've felt that my spiritual life has been dry the past week. I got to where I wouldn't read my Bible in the mornings like I usually did because I felt like I couldn't possibly read anything that would help me. Then I watched this video...

I was reminded that even on the cloudiest of days, the sun is still shining. Even when I don't think God is there, He really is.  Even when I don't necessarily feel His presence like I usually do, it doesn't mean that He walked out on my life.

I'm not saying that I've stopped hurting, and I'm not saying that it has gotten easier. I still feel like, because of what this person did to me personally, someone got a knife and drove it right through my core.  But I've found hope again.  Hope that God is still there, and that He is for me, He is with me, and He loves me, even when I can't feel it.  He's always there.

"I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence...
If I ride by the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me."
Psalm 139 7,9-10

Sunday, February 1, 2015

new beginnings & roller coaster rides

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."
Ephesians 2:10

I love the fresh, new feelings of a new year. It's a fresh start, a time to really examine yourself and purpose to change the things that need to be changed. 

In a lot of ways, the end of 2014 was like a crazy roller coaster ride. We got bad news right and left and it seemed like we were spiraling on a never ending, loop de loop roller coaster.  

The start of 2015 was like the part of the roller coaster where it ends- the slowing down, calm, and your head finally stops spinning part.

A fresh start.

A few months ago, I updated you guys on everything happening in our family. Quite a bit has changed since then.  Workers have started cleaning up water damage and mold issues. The whole north side of our house is in containment with plastic reaching 12 ft from floor to ceiling. We currently have no kitchen or laundry room. Workers are in our house all day every day, fans and de humidifiers running non stop. It's slightly crazy. But, thankfully we have our barn a few hundred feet away to retreat to during the day. We are able to do school down there and come back up to the house at night to sleep. An interesting thing is that we've had to eat out every meal since they ripped out the kitchen, so about five days now. I have to say that I've never missed home cooking so much in my life! But, I'm just glad this whole process finally started. It's going to be 8 or so weeks until the house will be normal again.

Some of you might remember me telling you about our blind horse Rooster. I have such good news on him. After searching and searching for a place for him to go to, it seemed hopeless. We were so discouraged and upset because no place that we looked at had room for him. We were about to give up when our vet encouraged us to talk to Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama, and ask if we could donate Rooster to their Large Animal Clinic for research. This was the last option. If Auburn didn't take him, then we had no other choice than to put him down. He was getting too dangerous for us to have here. But God was SO good throughout this. Auburn accepted him and we were able to trailer him there (about a 3 hour drive for us) last week. It is a beautiful place and I'm so very happy for him. He's going to be so well taken care of there. 

With those two major events going on in our lives, it really did feel like a never ending ride- the kind when all you want is to get off, but there is no way you just have to endure it and hold on.  I think one of the biggest things that I learned in the past few months is that 1) God is good, all the time. That was extremely hard to believe, and I still don't understand why we went through everything we did. But, despite this, God is good. 2) God taught me endurance. That was huge for me. It was so hard to get up in the mornings, knowing I had a day full of overwhelming issues to confront wasn't encouraging. But I had to. I had to believe that God was with me and helping me through the day.

So, if you are going through a difficult "roller coaster" season in your life right now, I would encourage you to find rest in God's Word. You can take everything the hard way by not relying on Jesus in your problems, like I did. Believe me- that ride is like being on your roller coaster ride with no seatbelt- you are on the verge of falling out! But Jesus is that seatbelt. He is your safety, your rest. He is your constant, never changing Father who will always be there no matter what loop de loop you are on in your life. We have to make the choice to rest in His promises of love and faithfulness to us. We have to put on that seatbelt. His love and rest is offered right there in front of us. He is just waiting for us to strap in and hold on tight on this crazy, loop de loop roller coaster ride of life. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a time to cry & a time to laugh...

Hi everyone!

I'm so sorry I haven't blogged in forever.  It's been a crazy last few weeks. As my grandfather says "When it rains, it pours."  It's definitely been pouring at the Mattox home.

First of, my family took our annual trip to Canada.  My Dad drove, as usual. His truck broke down 3 times and then he got a flat tire.
Then, when we came home after being gone two weeks, we noticed our floors buckling.  We have re-purposed pine wood floors in our house.  My Mom stepped on one of these boards and, to all of our surprise, water shot up!  Long story short, a pipe in our laundry room has been leaking for several months now.  They found mold in our laundry room closet.  They have to rip everything out 6 inches above the floor (keep in mind that because this was leaking for so long, water spread throughout our downstairs.) So that means, floors, cabinets, the built in bookcases, our stove, dishwasher, fridge, washing machine & dryer...all that has to come out.  On top of that, they cannot reuse our floors.  Since our floors were one of a kind, we have to get all new flooring on the downstairs floor, no matter if water spread there or not.  So, that's happening!!  Thankfully, they aren't starting demo til after Thanksgiving.
Then, even worse than this is about our horse, Rooster.  Many of you will remember that we just recently bought Rooster (in May of this year) and just got him moved to our house in late September.  Emma went to feed him one day, and noticed clouds in his eyes. We immediately got a vet to come over, and he confirmed that Rooster has Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU).  He is completely blind in his right eye, and partially in his left.  This is a condition that comes in attacks.  If the attacks are discovered and taken care of, it slows down the process of blindness.  But, Rooster's obviously was not taken care of, therefore he is almost totally blind.  I can't begin to tell you how devastated we are, especially my sister Emma.  Rooster is her best friend, and he is only 7 years old.  Currently, we are looking for a ranch specifically for blind horses (if you know of any, please let me know!).  We had two vets opinions, and both agree that Rooster is not safe for Emma to have, period.

So, that's what's been going on.  :0 It's been a lot, a whole lot.  I was beginning to feel kind of beaten up, just like my family was getting tossed around with all of the bad things happening (some I'm not even mentioning). Realization hit, and I felt so stressed when I realized I could do absolutely nothing to change the circumstances.  Our whole house is going to be ripped up- can't do nothing about it.  Rooster is blind- nope, I can't change that either.

That's been really difficult.  But like the verse above (ecclesiasties 3), there is a time for everything.  There is a purpose for everything. God has us in His hands, and I am grateful for that.

My Dad reminded me that this too shall pass.

I will leave you with a few recent pics.  I'll try to go into more detail about our Canada trip soon :)

Happy Thanksgiving!
we were able to have a fall party back in october with some friends :)

aunt retta and uncle bobby got to stop by too!

family christmas picture in canada, nov 2014

me and my babe (fraulein)

and last but not least, our sweet rooster.  this pic was taken a while back.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

You Are Perfectly Made! {New YouTube Video}

Hey guys!

I have made a YouTube channel and will be posting on it every week. (:  Check out my first video!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

what I want in my future husband...

Hey guys!

So, today I'm kinda updating a post I did a few years ago.

  I just searched on Google "qualities in a future husband".  This is what came up:
make sure he doesn't tell you what you should weigh 
Uhh, does weight even matter?

 Okay, if I were to be pushing 400 lbs or something, I'd guess I would like my husband to be like"Babe....whats going on here???"

My list is a lot different than what most girls my age would look for.  I don't have a certain hair color or eye color that I want in a future husband ( though I am partial to blue eyes and brown hair...:P).  I have a list that;s about what's on the inside.  I know that this may seem super specific to some people. I'm not trying to look for a perfect guy, one who never messes up, and I sure hope my future husband isn't looking for a perfect girl, because I am definitely not.  I'm looking for someone who loves Jesus as much as I do and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.

Here's my list:

what I want in my future husband…
1.       a man who loves and follows Jesus- a God lover
2.       a man who does not have a bad temper.
3.       a man who has a good relationship with his parents.
4.       a man who loves me for me, not just for my outward appearance.
5.       a man who will draw me closer to Jesus.
6.       a man who is funny (:
7.       a man who is outgoing and confident.
8.       a man who is not afraid to admit when he’s wrong.
9.       a man who loves to travel.
10.   a man who does not try to change my convictions.
11.   a man who has the same beliefs.
12.   a man who is tenderhearted.
13.   a man who is understanding. 
14.   a man who is patient.
15.   a man who is strong, not physically, but spiritually.
16.   a man who connects with me, who understands me and my failures and accepts me.
17.   a man who loves children.
18.   a man who loves others.
19.   a man who isn't afraid to show affection. 
20. a man who is chasing after Jesus.

 Now these next few aren't required...but they would be absolutely wonderful (:
            1. a man who loves to be outdoors (to hunt, fish, hike, etc!)
            2. a man who can sing...because I definitely can't!
            3. a man who will dance with me!

Well, that's my list!  I pray for my husband every day- I have been for almost two years now.  I think that it is so important for us girls to pray for our future husbands, and vice versa.  You never know what they may be going through right now, and your prayers will be a blessing on them.  

(again, I'm going to recommend the book "Praying For Your Future Husband" by my forever favorite author Robin Jones Gunn.  It's a must read girls!)


Monday, August 25, 2014

a whirlwind... exactly what summer (and pretty much all of 2014) feels like to me.  It's like I blinked when it was January 1st and when I opened my eyes, all of a sudden it is the end of summer!

     I'm going to try and backtrack to tell you guys what I did this summer.  It's definitely been busy, to say the least.

In June:

I had a slow month for June, which was quite nice!  We finished up school, and I started to help one of my friend's with her dog washing business.  It was so fun!  I was able to connect with new friends, and also to see old friends that I haven't seen in a while.

me and my forever friend Blaine (who lives 6 hours from me) gave eachother blindfolded makeovers when she came down to visit (:

In July:
whew, okay- this was a busy month.  First, I was apart of a 4th of July parade in my hometown on the library float.  We had tons of fun throwing beads and celebrating our nation's independence!  About a week after that, I had the AMAZING opportunity to go with my friend Blaine, her older sister Reide, and Reide's friend Maddie...white water rafting!!  We went on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.  I had an absolutely fantastic time.  We also went hiking and got to tour The University of the South (aka Sewanee).  It was a beautiful school.  Later that month, I saved a puppy on the side of the road when I was going to meet some friends for coffee.  I absolutely COULD NOT leave this baby there.  But, if you know my family, you know we cannot take another dog (we actually have ahem... nine at the moment).  God had it worked out so perfectly though!  A friend of mine was looking for a dog, and Charlie found a wonderful home.  After this, my sister Mary bought her first car!  It is a 2006 used Toyota 4Runner.  She looovveees it.  To end the month, I had a lemonade stand with my friend Blaine (:
us girls the day before white water rafting- l-r me, blaine, maddie & reide

so. much. fun


little charlie!

mary and her car!

August has definitely been the busiest month of the summer.  The 5th of August was my 16th birthday (:  My parents surprised me with a trip to San Francisco, CA!  I had THE BEST TIME EVER.  This trip was just me and my Mom, which made it extra special.  We left on the 4th of August and came back on the 9th.  I had no idea where we were going until we got to our connection in Houston.  We did everything in San Francisco- walked the Golden Gate Bridge, did lots of hiking at Lands End and Crissy Field, went to Lombard St, visited two libraries (of course), drove to see the Redwood Trees on the Avenue of Giants, went to Pier 39 (Fisherman's Wharf) and saw all of the precious sea lions, drove down the coast of California for three hours, and made tons of memories.  It is, by far, the most fantastic trip I've ever taken.  I had so much fun with my Mom!
Now, at the end of August, I just have a few minor life such as getting my driver's license (!!!!!!) and starting my Junior year of highschool today.  I did get to have a tea party as a late celebration for my birthday from my friends Blaine, Reide, and Maddie.  We had such a cute little get together (:


Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Field

Eno ing at Land's End (: 

Land's End

Celebrating my birthday at an Italian restaurant (: 

Redwood Trees!!!

Driving down the Pacific

My Christy and Todd lovers will understand how important this was- I wore my Forever bracelet to the beach and stood with my toes in the sand.  The books were so real to me as the waves splashed through my toes.  I turn around, and TWO VW VANS DRIVE BY!!!!  totally passed out.

the full house house!

Princess Diaries' House!

we had a picnic with the Painted Ladies (:

Seward Street Slides- SO MUCH FUN!

windy day!

an accidental wrong turn led us to Hawk's Eye View!

Pier 39 Sea Lions!

on the way home ):  I did not want to leave!

The next week we celebrated my Dad's birthday by going fishing in our amazing Gulf of Mexico!


FREE Starbucks Venti Mocha Frappuchino for my birthday (:

my amazing friend Melissa had her 19th birthday on the 23rd!  Love this girl so much!

after the tea party with blaine (:

And most recently (as of today)...

love y'all!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

only God knows how it all turns out...

Right now my family is going through a difficult time with my grandmother (my mom's mom).  Here's a little background...

My grandmother on my Dad's side died when I was very little.  Now, my grandmother on my Mom's side has full blown dementia.  She's always had mental issues, but never this bad.  This has been so hard on us.  When I think it's bad, I know my Mom and grandfather are hurting ten times more than I am.  This disease is so crazy in the way it progresses.  One day, she'll be fine, but the next, it's like she has no idea whats going on.

I didn't realize how bad it was until the beginning of this week when we went over to their house.  My grandfather asked me to stay with her while he picked some blueberries.  My grandmother did not want him to leave, and as I was trying to ease her into the living room, she kinda got upset with me. That's never ever happened before.  I sat there with tears in my eyes as she got mad, and I'm thinking what happened to my grandmother?

Later that day, she had a dr's appt, so I picked out some clothes for her and asked her to get dressed.  I had no idea, but she didn't have a clue on how to get dressed. Another thought ran through my mind...why is this happening?

I see pictures of girls having such a special relationship with their grandmother.  Either they are going out to lunch, or going shopping, or just spending time together.  Seeing stuff like that hurts pretty bad, to say the least.  It hurts to think that I will never have that kind of relationship.  Another thing that makes me hurt is when kids take advantage of their grandmother.  I know some kids that are so disrespectful to their grandmother.  Yet again, another thought runs through my mind... they do not realize how lucky they are, and how much God has blessed them.  

Through all of this, I'm trying to remember that God has a reason for this.  "Only God knows how it all turns out, and for those who belongs to Him, it turns out well."

Right now, my whole family (especially my grandfather and my mom) would really appreciate your prayers as we go through this uphill struggle.