Theta Fiesta!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

 On October 19th, my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, hosted it's fall philanthropy event. It has been such a blessing to see what a group of people with a common goal can accomplish during my time in Theta. Theta Fiesta is the smaller philanthropy event, with Theta 5K raising more than $60,000 this Spring. We were absolutley BLOWN AWAY to raise another $16,000 at Fiesta. All of this money goes towards supporting abused children through our national philanthropy, CASA, and our local, Scotty's House. Enjoy a few pictures from the event! 

a little idea.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

hello, dears!

it's been awhile. that's because lately, life has been a lot. but there are so many good things. 65 days until our wedding and I think if it was a single day more I might cry. I'm very blessed.

If we are honest, I have felt dry in the area of service over the past year or so. I weaned myself out of some incredible ministries I was a part of, and that took it's toll. A few weeks ago, I prayed that God would reveal to me what my passions in service were. What was it that got my heart beating? What brings tears of compassion to my eyes? What kind of service do I believe allows me to shine like Christ to people around me? I immediately knew. For years, I have loved reading adoption stories through several sources. I have watched some close friends, our Sunday school teachers from 11th grade adopt a precious bubbly baby girl. I knew that reading of people rescuing the fatherless and placing them in nurturing environments was what got my blood pumping. I knew that praying for the millions of orphans all over the world left me feeling refreshed. I was obsessed with what a beautiful picture of our salvation in Christ is displayed through adoption. But let's be real, although Ben and I are both passionate about adoption and know that we desire for it to be a part of our future, babies aren't a part of our plan for at least five years. That's just what we're working with. 

For Christmas last year, I got my first DSLR camera. I loved snapping pictures of the everyday, and of the beautiful friends around me. The Lord provided several opportunities to practice my portrait photography. Although I enjoyed those experiences, I struggled a lot because I felt like I needed to do better, that I needed to be a perfect photographer two months into knowing what the stink aperture is.

So, I let comparison steal my joy. I slowly let my camera collect dust in the closet. (hence not so many pictures on the blog). I ran from opportunities. The evening that I had been praying about what my passions were, Ben and I went to Starbucks. He brought up that he feels like I have been struggling with finding a place to express my creativity. I am so extremely thankful for how he knows my heart and what brings me joy. He kept insisting that he thought I should get back into photography, that it might be an easy and fun way to make a little bit of side money during student teaching in the Spring.

And then it hit me. I wanted to get back into photography, and save all the money I earn to give to adopting families. I have read so many stories of God providing the finances for adoptive families and want to be a part of that. As we began to discuss this idea, we knew we had stumbled upon something incredibly happy. We know that during our first few years of being newlyweds, we are not going to be rolling in the abundant finances. However, we both have great desire to give. Not just tithe our 10%, but to give to those in need. This could be our way to earn money and give to families who are pursuing God's will for their lives through adoption.

That being said, included in this post are photos I've taken that are encouraging to me. Encouraging because I like them. I know I'll look back one day after learning and practicing and laugh at my elementary skill, but for now, they're happy.

If you have any need for photography, feel free to contact me via email at

a revelation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Last night I learned something pretty huge.

For the past few weeks, Tuesday nights has meant premarital counseling. Ben and I have been so excited to learn and dive into tons of knowledge about how to love and respect each other as Christ commands, to gain practical application, and just to hang out with an awesome older couple.

We have been so blessed to be matched with an incredible couple, through our church in College Station. It has been awesome to see that someone would want to take the time to sit down with us and just share. We have already learned so much, big and small from our mentor couple.

During our meeting last night, our mentor couple shared how they handle a particular household chore, and our jaws dropped. Without going into detail, their way goes against what pretty much every "awesome Christian couple" we know does.


I realized a lot in that moment. A lot of times we take cultural things and try to make them biblical. The Mrs of our mentor couple was quick to point out that the bible says nothing about the thing they were referencing, and she emphasized how it is most important that we figure out what will manage conflict and work the best for US. Not for everyone we know, but for US.

Now, this has probably been boring thus far, because I'm not telling you what I'm talking about. If you're a newlywed or headed that way, feel free to email me at I'd love to share with you in an appropriate place. :)

I think I needed to see this truth modeled for several different areas of my life. I've reached a point of being pretty burnt out with school. I just am. I don't want to complete little assignments all day long. I want to spend time with my beloved and craft and plan our wedding/future home and enjoy precious time with so many dear friends who soon I will not be able to see daily. I DO NOT want to be spending my day responding to e-learning discussions. This has just made me really sassy about the transition that is about to take place in May: graduation. Ben and I have the whole world in front of us. We do not have to jump into the grind of trying to find the best paying jobs and compete with others and blah blah blah. I'm really over that.

It was just really happy to learn that what's important is doing what works for us. This was pretty big for two little almost newlyweds.

Note: I don't know why I included these random pictures of us enjoying farm activities. I'm homesick for the country. Never thought that would happen! XO

Friday Five

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hello, my dears!

I've decided to start a new little series here on the bloggy: Friday Five!
Each week I will list out five things that have been making my heart happy that week. Let's be real, I love lists in every other aspect of life so it's about time I got some on here.

1. Discipleship

Throughout college, I have been blessed to learn and study under a sweet woman from home who loves Jesus so greatly. (shoutout Christy McCallum!) She has influenced me in so many positive ways, I cannot even begin to count. This year for the first time I've been doing some discipling of my own. This was a big step for me, because it involves the confidence to step out and say "I have something worth teaching" or at least that's why I was nervous about it. But God commands us to make disciples, and I have been so blessed already by deepening a relationship that has already existed through discipleship.

2. Colored Pants

Okay. I know. You already know about colored pants. You already have colored pants. It's fine. For me, I've always been a girl who loves muted colors. Which is fine, but I had kind of hit that wall of needing to break out. I discovered this one day when I went to color coordinate my closet and discovered that everything I own is navy, white, light grey, or light pink. I bought two pairs of colored Jcrew Toothpick jeans at the beginning of summer. They were on sale- and there was an extra 30% off sale, and then the 15% student discount off. Moral of the story is I walked out of there with a style risk of two bright pairs of jeans (green and neon peach) for less than $50. I was feeling good, and comforting myself with the knowledge that I'll be able to wear white tops with them.. or maybe my chambray button up. BUT NO!! THESE PANTS WERE REVOLUTIONARY!! Over time I started to pair them with other bright colors, patterns, etc. Basically these pants challenged me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. And we ALL need that.

3. Keep my heart Quiet- Samantha Ray
Look this song up on Itunes. Pay the dollar or whatever it is. $1.29. You won't regret it at all. There's a pretty sweet story to how I found this song, but we can discuss that after my wedding. :)

4. Fall!!

Okay, maybe it's still quite hot in Texas. But there are glimpses of fall ahead!! I will celebrate by saying my favorite phrase "Happy Fall, Yall!!" and putting candy corn in a jar.

5. Wedding Planning
To be more specific, "when wedding planning goes well"! This week I booked the hair and makeup artists for the wedding, our invitations and calligraphy arrived, and things just started to feel a bit more real. EEEK!

Hope you have a wonderfully lovely weekend! :)

my first wedding craft!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I have been so antsy to share all of my wedding plans on this blog. Coming up with ideas and creating things and crafting for the special day has been so incredible and I am an over sharer. So even if no one cares I'm like YES. LET'S BLOG IT. But the thing is, half the fun of weddings is seeing all of that fun stuff at the wedding. So all of the behind the scenes of doing everything will come after I become Mrs. Strader. (yesterday was three months till the big day. three months from right now I'll be honeymooning in Charleston, South Carolina. A-WHOOP! anyways.) 

One thing I can share now, is how I asked my bridesmaids to be... my bridesmaids. When Ben and I got engaged, two of my future bridesmaids were at camp (Sky Ranch!), one in Africa, one traveling Europe, one in Oklahoma, and one MOH in Maryland. So basically I was limited in my ability to see these sweet friends in real life or give them something that was more than an envelope away. I immediately turned to pinterest. 

Let's be real, pinterest has been a huge help. I went my whole life guarding my heart against thoughts of marriage and trying to just live life. Then all of a sudden there are a million decisions to make and if you haven't looked at this stuff before it's really overwhelming. PRAISE THE LORD FOR THE INTERWEBS. 

I found this, with a link to here


I was sold!! How cute are these little paper dolls! SO CUTE. So I set out to create my own. 

Mine are a little less cute, obviously. But I loved them. And I think that my lovely maids did too. I had issues getting all the little girls in one picture so oops. I have eight bridesmaids. You can read about them here on our wedding website.

I also decided to add myself, as a bride, into the paper dolls. This may sound silly, but for the first time I was seeing what it would be like for myself to be in a white gown for my wedding day. Even if it was in paper doll form, it was a moment for me. I liked it. I like it even more now that my dress is ready, altered, and hanging in my closet at my mom's house, ready for action.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of cutting and paper involved in this project. But it was so fun and so worth it to get the calls from each of my wonderful friends!

Looking forward to sharing more soon! :)

ps. thank you so much for all the positive feedback about our house! we are so excited to have gotten to share this news with everyone- and look forward to keeping everyone posted on this adventure! love you guys! 

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