Red ~ A Reylo Songfic

Disclaimer: The song “Red” belongs to Taylor Swift. All characters and the world belong to Star Wars, but the plot and everything else is mine. Please don’t steal my work, and give credit if you decide to post it somewhere else and whatnot. With that said, I hope y’all enjoy it! Oh, and the collages are made by me.

Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street
Faster than the wind, passionate as sin ending so suddenly

His hand hovered over her face, until the black leather touched her cheek in a feathery, soft wisp. She was frozen in place, unable to move. Her hazel eyes locked on his darker ones, knowing she should call out a warning to the Resistance – do anything but stand here in a dreamlike trance.

“Do you even know what you do to me?”

Oh, most certainly. Likely the same horrible, spell-binding pull that seemed to draw them together – always together. Never being able to truly hate one another, always with the longing that they could be something more. Together. As One.

In a sudden burst of movement, he pressed his lips to hers in a passionate kiss full of the ridiculous adoration that he could never stop carrying for this tiny, spitfire of a woman. And to her shame, she found herself responding in equal longing and neediness.

reylo4

Loving him is like trying to change your mind once you’re already flying through the free fall
Like the colors in autumn, so bright just before they lose it all

“Rey.”

She shook her head, already knowing what he was going to say. The hallway of the building was eerily empty save for the presence of two orphaned souls. Turning, she saw her friend’s crestfallen face – sensitive spirit trying to understand why in the universe she would do this. “I’m sorry Finn. I-I can’t change how I feel – it’s beyond my control – the Force…” Her voice trailed off, shoulders sagging wearily. There was no logical explanation for this, nothing she could say that would make him or herself feel any better. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met

Rey clung to him tightly, refusing to let go. She would not, would not let him do this. Of course, considering the fact that he was a good foot taller than her and at least physically, much stronger, she knew he could easily pull her off and leave. Leave. “No! I will not allow this! Not after everything, does this mean nothing to you?” She shoved her ring finger in front of his face, tears pooling in her eyes.

Closing his eyes tightly, he rested his forehead against hers – breathing in deeply. “Sweetheart, this-this running from planet to planet is no life for a family. No life for-for you. You deserve better…”

“But what if I don’t want anything better?” came her choked reply.

“I have to do this.”

But loving him was red
Loving him was red

“Don’t be afraid, I feel it too.”

“I need someone to show me my place in all of this.”

Touching him was like realizing all you ever wanted was right there in front of you
Memorizing him was as easy as knowing all the words to your old favorite song

She staggered backwards, battle wounds causing her vision to swarm. Right before black completely clouded her sight, she thought she saw a worried, anxious face leaning over hers.

When she finally awoke, she wondered where she was, what had happened. Then, she remembered. Luke had sent her on a solo mission to an Outer Rim planet. While there, she had encountered Kylo Ren. So much had happened…strange creatures had attacked, forcing them to become allies out of necessity. Even before that, he had – surprisingly, saved her from drowning.

Looking to her left, she gasped. There lay Kylo Ren, knocked out cold. She shifted slowly, not wanting to disrupt her wounds, but when they did not pain her, she came to the strange conclusion that he had healed her. But is that not a Light Side technique?
Shakily, she crawled over to him, hand trembling as she unconsciously rested it against his scarred face. In his current state, his entire body was relaxed and she almost felt as though she had known him in another life.

Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer
Regretting him was like wishing you never found out that love could be that strong

“It is you.”
“You’re a monster!”

“I can train you! Show you the ways of the Force!”
The Force…
She swung.

Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark gray all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met

She could not stop shaking. Frantically, she reached up and cradled his face in her hands. His face that she knew so well. Subconsciously, she traced every scar that marked him, tenderly brushing her fingers over their surface. “Please,” she begged, voice barely audible. “Please, we can leave now.”

His tortured soul grew more conflicted as his wife lovingly caressed him.

She glanced down at her swelling stomach. Eight months pregnant. “I can’t do this alone. Please, please. We can go – live in some remote planet. I don’t care! Just – ” She broke off in a choked sob.

Overhead, aircraft sounded. It was too late. The Resistance had come for Kylo Ren. Her heart shattered into a thousand pieces, and she could only muster more tears as her love, her soulmate held her tightly.

But loving him was red
Oh red
Burning red

“How can you love me? After everything I’ve done?” He whispered to her, voice broken.
She tilted her head to look at him, noticing the sorrowful, self-hatred emotion that filled his eyes. Shushing him, she rested her head against his chest. It was late at night, they had both been exhausted after numerous death threats throughout the day. Shrugging her shoulders, she yawned sleepily. “Dunno, I guess-I guess I just always saw the good in you. And I blame Snoke for starting you on it. No, no. I know it doesn’t excuse anything, but that-that,” she let out a sharp, insulting curse word for the disgusting creature, “he watched you since you were born. And anyways,” she snuggled against him, “you’re the only one who understands me.”

Emotion filled his throat, and he could do nothing but place the most tender and innocent of kisses on her forehead.

Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes
Tell myself it’s time now, gotta let go
But moving on from him is impossible
When I still see it all in my head
Burning red
Burning it was red

She awoke with a sweaty gasp, shuddering under the weight of memories. Tears slipped down her cheeks, though she alone saw them in the darkness of night. How much longer could she go on like this?

Oh losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark gray all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met

She wanted so badly to kill every single one of the guards who were holding her husband, her love captive. They had tied his hands together, feet locked in chains. He wore a black cuff on his hand that weakened his contact with the Force. Clenching her fists tightly, fury bubbled up in her as she watched them mockingly parade him around on the platform.

As though sensing her emotion, Ben Solo met her gaze – shaking his head slightly. Somehow she knew what he was saying…no. don’t Rey. I don’t want you to suffer on account of me.

But you’ll die! she shouted through their bond that not even the Force inhibiting cuff could cut off. In some part of her mind, she knew he was right. They had a child, her infant son. She could not leave him without a father and a mother. “I love you,” she whispered, blinking back tears.

He gave her a sad, lopsided smile. “I’ll always love you, sweetheart.”

‘Cause loving him was red
Yeah, yeah red
We’re burning red

As he fell to the ground in a heap, killed by the Resistance in accord with his First Order history, something in her snapped. An unearthly scream escaped her throat, and in some manner, she managed to instantly appear at his fallen side. Cradling his body to her, tears flooded down her cheeks and face.

No, no. This could not be happening! Where there was once his comforting presence in the back of her mind, now there was nothing. Her head spun with the pain of having the one she was bonded with taken from her in so cruel a manner.

A giant wave of the Force erupted from her – freezing everyone in place.

She had lost her lover, part of her soul. All she had left of him was her son, and she would be damned if she let anyone lay a finger on him. Not after losing Ben.

And that’s why he’s spinning ’round in my head
Comes back to me, burning red

“Scavenger.”
“Rey.”
“Sweetheart.”
“Ree.”
Partner.
Soulmate.
Lover.
One.

Yeah, yeah
His love was like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street

 

Confessions of a New College Student

I’ve now been at college for about two months, give or take a few days. With everything I have been learning, there are a couple of conclusions I have drawn about college students in general and obviously, myself.

1. You will live at coffee shops

Ok, well. Maybe not literally, but basically – yeah. You might as well consider coffee shops your own personal living room or office. The amount of time I have spent at coffee shops has pretty much tripled, compared to when I was home.

So far, I’ve tried Monarch, O’Henry’s, and Heritage House in Tuscaloosa. They’ve all been really good, and completely different, which is cool! (btw let me know in the comments below if y’all would be interested in hearing my review of various coffee shops, or if that’s a boring/terrible idea. Be honest! Seriously, I won’t be offended – I’m just trying to figure this whole blogg’in thing out haha).

2. Animal desperation reaches a new high

CONFESSION TIME. I am an avid animal lover…and by that, I mean sortofmaybereallyobssessed. Imagine me, who previously lived with two cats and a dog, going to college where the housing staff is all like NO ANIMALS. NONE. ZERO. ZIP. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures y’all.

Not going to lie, today I had a pathetic realization. I was walking to the library and I saw the cutest, tiniest chipmunk scamper over the sidewalk and into the bushes. Its little coppery body with stripes popped into the leaves with one small leap.

“So cute!” said I, having the urge to hold the adorable creature. This, then, transitioned to the natural thought of wanting to take one of these friendly animals back with me as a pet.

Hey, I have had some experience with squirrels and chipmunks: when my brother, next-door neighbors, and I rescued two baby squirrels. Seriously y’all, at least as babies, they are SUPER friendly and SO CUTE.

Anyway. Needless to say, the thought of smuggling a pet into my dorm room has crossed my mind…multiple times. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, ok? This is our little secret. blog3

3. Money disappears

Remember when you were little, and one hundred dollars sounded like a MASSIVE amount of cash?

If only that were the case! In my short time that I have been at college, I have quickly learned how fast money goes! Those $5 coffees add up y’all!

Besides that, I’ve just been doing school and trying to figure out this whole adult thing – which, by the way, IS SO WEIRD TO SAY. I remember when I was younger, and I would look at college students and think, “wow, they’re so grown-up and independent!”

….now I’M in college, and yeah, nope. All of us are basically running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off – I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS. WHAT AM I DOING. OHMYWORD I’VE SCREWED UP. I’M RUINED. I’M OFFICIALLY NOT CUT OUT TO BE AN ADULT.

So. There’s that.

Anywayyyyyyyyy, this past weekend I went to the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. Southern Living actually featured this festival in their magazine! I was pretty excited about that, being a good southern girl and all (since Southern Living’s word is law). This morning I took my psychology midterm/test/whatever-you-want-to-call-it – glad to be done with that! 😉

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now y’all!

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Sparks ~ A Reylo One-Shot

Disclaimer: All characters and the world belong to Star Wars, but the plot and everything else is mine. Please don’t steal my work, and give credit if you decide to post it somewhere else and whatnot. With that said, I hope y’all enjoy it! 

She picked up on his scent immediately…it was so, so unmistakably him. He smelled of pain and heartache – agony settling deep into his bones long ago; and yet…there was something else. Something torn and shattered, needing – no, pleading to be made whole again. The tiniest, smallest flicker of hope that continued to give the barest light in his world of darkness.

Against the logic of herself and the rest of the galaxy, she breathed in deeply. The scent of metal, something only a scavenger could appreciate, hit her nose instantly. And then, as she focused, an aroma of leather and spearmint, mixed together in a wonderful abrasion floated through the air. The effect was immediate. Her stiffened shoulders and anxious lines cross-crossing her face relaxed. She couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but there was just something about it that calmed her…made her feel safe and secure.

With a frigid chill, a breeze brushed against her cheek – causing her heart to thump violently. The very air seemed to hum with the Force, thrumming with every vibration and breath. Intangible, yet she could almost touch it. It was right before her, and still farther than a lightyear away. What was this? Who –

Then, she saw him. Almost like a phantom, a ghost who she alone could see. Him with his deep eyes, saying far more than words ever could -an ebony lock drifting over his brow. He moved silently towards her, a beautiful, yet deadly creature – treading the ground with power and strength. Shadows, casted by the twilight in all of it’s romantic mysteriousness, fell over his face…across his left cheek. Unconsciously, her gaze drifted to the scar that would always remain – a reminder, a whisper of falling snow, flashing sabers, and her trembling heart that somehow seemed to beat in sync with his.

“Do you feel it?”

He stood before her, towering over her much smaller frame. His words, betraying the otherwise intimidating demeanor, were tender – an inquiry intended only for her ears to catch. Every logical neuron in her mind, every bit of survivor experience she had gathered from that dust pit screamed against the closeness of the enemy – told her to get away, to move. She closed her eyes briefly, trying to muster up enough strength to take a step in the opposite direction.

“I – ”

She could not. Something-something beyond herself, had her feet glued to the grassy ground. The darkening skies and the dimming sun could not even hold a flame to the phenomenon that seemed to tie her soul with his. What was it?

Suddenly, a rough hand lifted her chin gently. On instinct, she looked up and found herself drowning in his dark eyes, that seemed to pool with every emotion that the universe could offer. Heart pounding, she tried to make some sense of this insanity. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly, a single tear escaping. Her senses were overcome. She inhaled sharply.

“Ree,” his deep voice murmured, wiping her tears away. In his own mind, he had always called her this. Perhaps silly, trivial even – and yet, it felt right.

Despite the fact that her throat felt closed off, Rey managed to choke out, “I-I don’t understand!” She did not understand at all. She did not understand why this was happening to her, why in the galaxy the Force decided she should be the one. She did not understand why she did not hate him – why her heart and mind seemed flooded with anything, anything but loathing. She did not understand why every time they drew near to one another, a spark seemed to light within her veins.

In that never-ending way she still did not grasp, somehow he knew the confusion that wrecked through her very being. Rey found herself drawn into a tight embrace, her head buried in his chest and his arms wrapped around her. Tears continued to slip from her hazel eyes. Too many emotions and feelings flooded her. Why was this so confusing? Everything was so much simpler back on Jakku…”I should hate you,” she mumbled against his cloak.

He nodded wordlessly, stroking her hair with the tenderest of touches. “I know.”

Faithful Butterflies

Yesterday, I was walking back to my dorm. My backpack filled with binders and school supplies bounced against my spine, straps secured over my shoulders. The summer heat and classic southern humidity filled the atmosphere, making me hurry towards the air-conditioned building: Ridgecrest South. It loomed in the near distance – students exiting and entering in the always moving throng of a college campus. As my feet transitioned from grass to pavement, a fluttering movement caught my eye. Flitting across the grounds, were tiny, adorable little butterflies. Their cheery neon-yellow color bestowed of their vibrancy for life, drawing a smile onto my face.

I hope the title of this post is beginning to make sense.

Today, it was like all of the things that have occurred – which I will go in more detail to – came together in a perfect masterpiece and a lightbulb hit me. Sometimes in life, changes happen, and you’re thrown into it wondering how am I supposed to do this? That’s sort of the season I’m in now. College is a huge difference, going from a homeschooled-Christian environment to a large, secular university; an introvert entering one of the largest colleges. Kind of crazy.

The past week or so, several events have happened. Little things, that you might not assume were connected if you weren’t looking for it. For me, even though I did not realize it at the time, the connection started one afternoon. I was walking and suddenly, one of my professor’s called my name – saying she wanted to speak with me. She assured me that I was not in trouble, before referencing a piece of work I had done.

“Have you found a church home yet?”

I shook my head. “No, I’m still sort of looking around.”

With my response, she told me about the church she and her husband have been attending for the past few years. “They have a great college program,” she said, suggesting I should come and visit. I thought it was amazing that she was a Christian: even though her class is my hardest, she’s my favorite teacher. After I learned all of this, I instantly knew why she has been my favorite.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,” ~ 1 John 4:1

Even though I did not know it at the time, I believe subconsciously the Holy Spirit was telling me that the same spirit that was in me, was in her. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty AMAZING. SO. COOL.

After class, I headed to the Student Center so I could pick up a package. There were a couple of students in front of me, though not many. When my turn came, I handed them my Action Card and signed off on it, during which they went to get my package. They handed the cardboard box, and I walked past the glass doors to where a gray shelf/table jutted out from the wall. Placing the box on it, I grabbed my cellphone and checked Facebook (as every good millennial would do xD). That’s when I saw I had a notification.

Take a wild guess as to what the overall message was about…God’s faithfulness. My friend, Ane, was going to be sharing in my mom’s Bible Study about how God had been so faithful to her (side note: Ane, you seriously need to start a blog! Your story is amazing). Obviously, I’m not in my hometown right now, so I couldn’t be there. I was so glad she had sent what she was going to say to me! As I finished reading it, all the pieces clicked and I realized how faithful and loving God has been to me.

And when God does something like that, you have to tell. I mean, first of all, it’s SO COOL, and secondly, it can help encourage others! Or God can use it to prompt them as Ane did for me 🙂

“I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!” ~ Psalm 40:10-11

Where do I start?

This past weekend, I went home. On Sunday, I headed to church (albeit very late SORRY, thank goodness God can work through all of our faults!), and saw Mrs. Jane. I greeted her with a wave and hug, before heading into the sanctuary. When the service was over, she approached me and we started to talk. I told her about college, and some of the changes I was having to get used to. Honestly, I can’t really explain the friendship I have with her. I suppose the simplest way, would be that it is completely brought together by God. He has made us kindred spirits. She prayed with me, before I left.

One of my mom’s friends, Mrs. Elizabeth, has been so sweet to me. This past summer I had the opportunity to house-sit her home and watch her silly, cute pets while she and her family were away. I was really grateful for the chance, and as I’ve started college, she has been faithful in praying for me. Knowing the wisdom she has, I’m so grateful for that! She sent me two packages and a letter, which I was gratefully surprised by! The package I mentioned earlier, was from her and contained beautiful, delicious sugar cookies in the shape of Dogwood blossoms/flowers.

Then there’s the cards from my grandparents and aunt with Starbucks gift cards (I’m pretty sure I live off caffeine nowadays xD) – a wonderful surprise that brightened my day. On Tuesday, I met with my English teacher and she was so encouraging to me! She strongly encouraged me to consider majoring or minoring in creative writing. Yesterday, someone from BamaCru – a Christian organization – texted me, asking if I would like to get lunch or coffee.

Isn’t it amazing, how God orchestrated everything? I’m so humbled that He loves me like that!

If you’re experiencing a time of change or are in a place where you don’t know what you’re doing, I would encourage you to ask God to pray for Him to show His love to you, for you to experience kisses from the Prince of Peace. Sometimes we forget, but as believers, we are His children! He delights in giving us good gifts!

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” ~ Luke 11:11-13

~ Southern Dreamer

Good Guys V.S. Bad Guys

Alright y’all, so I’m not really sure where I’m going with this blog post 😉 I’ve had a couple of ideas and thoughts floating around in my head, and figured I might as well try to put them into a cohesive mix-up of words and phrases. Lord willing, this will come together as some sort of bloggie post that flows and doesn’t sound like a random jumble of mashed-up craziness!

I’ve had some experience babysitting, and there was something interesting I noticed. When I asked the boys, who their favorite characters were, they almost always referred to the “bad guys.” They had the good guys too, but normally, they seemed more drawn to pretend-play with the darker, powerful foes.

This surprised me. I have a brother, and I always remember him loving characters like Luke Skywalker, Spider-Man, and other heroic people/beings. When I came home, I told my mom and asked her what she thought about it. Why did they seem instinctually drawn towards the opposing side? What was it that caused them to be more enthusiastic in that?

Here’s what she said: little boys are often drawn to the darker characters because they are portrayed as powerful and strong. She told me that with Brayden, my younger brother, she always encouraged and pointed him towards the good characters. She would not buy him all of the Darth Vaders, Jokers, or overall villainous toys. She wanted him to strive to be like the heroes. Not perfect, because no one is, but trying their best to follow truth and do what is right.

I know some of y’all are probably thinking I’m going to the extreme end of things. But, I do not believe I am. Because I have a brother, I understand that boys love to play-fight – cowboys and Indians, the Dark Side and the Light Side. There is nothing wrong with that, and I am definitely not against it – nor am I against a child having both the good and bad characters. After all, without an antagonist, victory would not taste quite as sweet and neither would justice be as preciously guarded.

But I believe it is very important for parents to make this distinction: encourage them and point out the cool and awesome qualities in the good guys. Yeah, it might sound silly, but fictional characters – especially for children – are critical. They look to them for inspiration and hope.

Jesus used parables and stories to convey truths. If our Savior did, then does that not show the high value and impact that stories can have?

Children learn through play, and fictional characters are a huge part of that. Rather than consistently being drawn to the powerful yes, but also opposing what is true and good, characters, should we not encourage them to look at the ones seeking after righteousness and truth?

For boys to be brave like Luke Skywalker, loyal like Harry Potter, and compassionate like Aragorn.

For girls to be as loving as Padme Amidala, have faith like Lucy Pevensie, and hard-working like Mulan.

For teens to look at Darth Vader and know that redemption is possible, to remember Natasha Romanoff and how your past does not define you, and to look at Finn from Star Wars, Emma Swan from Once Upon A Time, and remind themselves that even heroes experience fear and doubt their abilities.

Maybe I’m way off the mark here, and this is all just a silly theory running around in my head. Who knows, this could all be mess concocted together late at night.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Whatever you read and watch is bound to have some affect on you. I am not saying that if you watch a TV show with a villain, or read a book with a dark wizard, that you are going to flip a switch and turn evil – FAR FROM IT! Without antagonists, any story would be quite boring and basic. There would be no challenge for our hero. With that said, as I stated earlier, children’s minds are still developing. I’m not a parent, but I have a pretty awesome mom and dad. And they always made sure to make the distinction between enjoying the story, and praising the villain. I can never remember hearing as a child, oh look how cool Palpatine looks with his Force lightning! Isn’t the White Witch’s outfit awesome?

As children grow and mature, then the conversations can obviously go deeper and you can tease, joke, or comment on scenarios that you would not have done when they were little. Like I said, I’m not a parent, but I think encouraging and pointing kids towards healthy, heroic role models whether in fiction or real life, is important.

~ Southern Dreamer

 

What I Learned My First Week of College

Ok. Not going to lie – writing the title of this post was weird.

Me? In college?

Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. Really insane in an odd way. Every freshman (yep, that happened) I’ve talked to agrees that this feels like summer camp. Almost as if we are all going to wake up one day and BAM! – be back home. I’m sure it’ll sink in at some point that this is permanent and real, but right now I’m still in that surreal phase.

For those of you who don’t know, I chose to attend the University of Alabama. I know, I know – what was I thinking? Me. An introverted, Christian, conservative girl attending one of the largest schools in the country…where I know basically nobody. Putting it down in words does make it seem illogical – what could I be thinking?

I don’t really have an answer for you, except that this seems like where God wants me.

For all that, I have survived my first week of college! Can I get a halleluiah? 😉

Alright y’all, I’m going to get real here. The first week of college is kinda insane. Here are some things I learned for those of you headed towards college, or who just want to hear about how I, who pride myself on keeping my iPhone in pristine condition, managed to crack it – cue the tears.

  1. Do not trust the time your app says it takes to get to class

My Alabama app stated it would take a six minute walk to class. Haha…readers, the app’s definition of “walk” and mine are clearly different. I was speed-walking through campus on a mission: get to my first Spanish class in ten minutes. I did have the thought of running, but y’all! I did not want to be that girl.

“Yeah, there she goes. Ran to class on her first day.” Cue shaking head.

Ok, maybe that was semi-dramatic. But the point remains that I refused to make my first impression on campus, in a full-out run to class. By the time I reached the building, I checked my phone and raced up the stairs. For those of you who know me, you will recall that I am not the most coordinated person…and this translated to me tripping on the stairs and dropping my phone.

Crack.

My beautiful iPhone that I had so valiantly tried to keep in perfect condition, now showed a diagonal crack.

2. Driving on campus is a nightmare

One of my classes is pretty far, so I decided to drive to it. I happen to be a bit *ahem* directionally challenged, and some of the people on the roads were not very forgiving to a poor, confused freshman. In answer to your unspoken question, yeah…I got honked at.

But hey, I did eventually make it!

3. Your dorm room will look better than your bedroom at home

This is probably different for guys, at least from what I’ve seen online. But I know from my own experience, that my dorm room is definitely nicer in decorations, interior design, etc than my bedroom. I went on Pinterest for inspiration initially – seriously, whoever created that website/app is AMAZING. I’m only slightly addicted 😉 Home Goods and TJ Maxx were mainly where I purchased most of my dorm room items.

4. Starbucks will save your life

Well, maybe not save your life, but it will certainly make it more bearable. Alabama has a huge Starbucks in the student center – thank heaven. So far, I’ve already been twice, though I’m sure once school picks up speed, I will live and breathe Starbucks.

5. I have more appreciation for the simple things in life

Like bathtubs for instance. I love taking a warm, bubbly bath! Alas, dorm bathrooms lack this vital feature *dramatic sigh* Others include fruits and veggies, eating meals with my family, and having a sweet, furry pet to cuddle with. As they say, you don’t realize what you have until you don’t have it.

Those are a few things I learned my first week of college, along with other random bits and pieces. Such as that my Human Development teacher apparently owns buffalo, cows, horses, and chickens??? (Someone please tell me what one does with a buffalo)? Free food almost always means pizza, and walking through a hallway lined with sitting and standing students will make you feel like you’re in the Hunger Games.

To my fellow freshman, what did y’all learn during your first week in college?

~ Southern Dreamer

When Being Drunk Is Good

From the song “Happy,” to the hundreds of advertisements promising true happiness, our world is on a constant search for something that will make us happy. Many times, we think it’s something superficial – like money or going on awesome trips. If that’s true, then why are celebrities often so miserable? Why do many famous individuals turn to drugs, alcohol, and other such devices? I believe this is because they are lacking fulfillment, purpose, and joy.

True joy.

Patheos.com defines joy as, “Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. It could be described as exhilaration, delight, sheer gladness, and can result from a great success or a very beautiful or wonderful experience like a wedding or graduation but the definition of joy that the world holds is not nearly as amazing as biblical joy.”

Happiness is contingent on our circumstances, what is happening around us. Have you ever been having a really great day, and then something goes wrong? Your coffee spills, the fast-food restaurant gave you the wrong order, you suddenly realize you have a project due tomorrow. BAM. Your entire day seems like it just did a huge 180 and you are freaking out.

Does God want us to be happy? Certainly! He is our Father, and as his children, Jesus only wants the best for us. However, God is much smarter than we are, and he knew that there would be days when something goes wrong. He did give us free will, after all, and God doesn’t take back His Word. Even when it might not be our fault, or a person’s fault, as long as there is sin in the world, we will never have a perfect day.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world,” ~ John 16:33

Jesus tells us that we will have hard times. He never promised that our lives would be free from struggles, but he did not leave us empty-handed. The second part of the verse is important to remember: I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD. For those of us who are believers, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. The same power that OVERCAME the world lives in those of us who believe!

That is pretty awesome, however, I would like to bring the topic back around to joy. I promise it relates 😉

Like I said earlier, God wants us to be happy. There’s a problem with happiness…it’s contingent, subjective. Thankfully, we have an amazing Father and He offers us a solution to this…JOY.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law,” ~ Galatians 5:22-23

When we accept Jesus into our hearts, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells there. The Spirit, as part of the trinity, embodies all of the qualities of God. We have an opportunity to experience these emotions through the Holy Spirit.

There have been two times in my life that I can recall feeling the joy of the Holy Spirit. And y’all. It. Was. AMAZING. I felt so empowered and fearless! I was drunk on joy! That’s literally how it felt, and anyone who has experienced that, knows how absolutely riveting and exciting it is. You are just so joyful, happy, delighted. You’re like a child who trusts that everything is going to be ok. One instant, my mom and brother’s computer had crashed. Everyone else in my family was panicking, thinking that the computer was gone forever, along with all of their work on it.

Now, I do not take credit for this. All I can say, is that God in his mercy and love, perhaps saw me as a willing vessel and deposited His JOY and FAITH and TRUST in me. I was not worried! I knew God was going to fix the computer. I was drunk on the joy of the Holy Spirit, and you know what? The computer was saved. They’re still using it today.

Imagine what we could do in this world if we lived every day drunk on the joy of God. If we became like children and humbled ourselves in prayer. “Father, overwhelm me with faith and trust and joy that only You can give.” I think we would change this entire world, turn it on its axis.

I’m not pretending to know how to do this. Honestly, I am learning just as much as you. There’s not always a step-by-step manual on how to do this thing called faith, and that’s ok. All God asks is that we have a willing heart.

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long,” ~ Psalm 25:4-5

~ Southern Dreamer

Victory in Jesus

Yesterday, as I was sitting in the car, my mind began to wonder. Sometimes when that happens it’s a good thing, a creative idea will come to me or I’ll remember something I had forgotten. Other times, when my thoughts drift off, they’ll jump onboard the “Fear/Anxiety Train.” Unfortunately, I was on my way to the plush cushioned seats of Worry.

So that’s where I was mentally.

As my eyes glanced at the radio, I noticed what song had started to play…”No Longer Slaves” by Bethel. Just to give you a quick preview, the chorus of this song says:

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

Yeah, pretty awesome. I started to sing the words and the Spirit reminded me of something really awesome. Are y’all ready?

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, lives in us! Like, WHAT. I think many times we gloss over this, or don’t understand the actual meaning. But y’all, the power that raised our Savior from the grave? That brought him back to life? LIVES IN US.

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you,” ~ Romans 8:11

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” ~ Acts 1:8

It made me feel so empowered! And I could feel my fear being washed away as I meditated on this thought. Life can be really hard, and once in a while it’s wise to remind ourselves of whose we are. Children of the Most High. Princes and princesses of the King of kings. Creations of the Bright and Morning Star. Co-heirs with Christ (aka God of the universe). Friend of God.

And because of that, we have the privilege of being the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). God’s Spirit, to those who believe, resides in us. We can live in the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection! We are truly free! In the life of Jesus, we have complete confidence of triumph. When we go through trials, struggles, pain, and suffering, let us remember that at the end of the day, in God, we are victorious! As Paul said, “perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Perhaps you fight battles that no one knows, save for yourself and our Lord. Maybe you’re struggling with something that you think no one can possibly understand. Or it could be that right now your life is going perfectly. Everything is coming together exactly as you thought it would, and you couldn’t be more excited! Whether or not you find yourself in a season of waiting or one of great joy, let us never forget that in our Savior, we are VICTORS. CONQUERS. OVERCOMERS. WARRIORS.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

As we celebrate this fourth of July, remember where the true freedom lies. Between biting into a juicy hamburger and dipping your glistening silver spoon into a bowl of cold, soft ice cream, do not forget the high price that Jesus paid. When you watch the fireworks explode in beautiful displays of red, blue, and white, thank God for saving us from a lifetime of misery and sin. He set us free, and His freedom is the most valuable kind. Because even if the world goes to hell, the government crumbles, and everyone is in a panic, as Christians, we can still stand tall and say with confidence that we are free.

We know the truth and we have been delivered. Let us never forget the priceless gift of being a Child of God. We are free.

~ Southern Dreamer

Beach Must-Haves

This summer, I’ll be going to the beach. Many of you, I’m sure, will find yourself traveling to a land of sandy shores and dancing, salty waves. The car will be packed full with luggage, floaties, and your entire family crammed into one small space! There is one question critical to the success of your summer trip: what should I bring to the beach?

I’m glad you asked! 😉

1. Fashionable Swim-Suit

Anyone who has ever gone to the beach, knows that it is absolutely 100% necessary to have a swim-suit. However, there is a clear line between swim-suits you should stay away from – in my own personal opinion of course – and ones you should grab off the rack as fast as you can! There are some awesome choices, and here are a few tips if the swim-suit search has been rough.

For starters, don’t give up! It can be daunting, especially for women, to try on swim-suits and not feel satisfied. Let’s make one thing clear, Hollywood has a SERIOUSLY warped idea of what a normal, realistic girl’s body is like. I mean, c’mon. Size zero? Really? It’s like they’re asking people to have an eating disorder! And that is not, something I admire. So, when the swim-suit season comes, let’s have fun with it! Wear something that makes you feel beautiful (note: this does not mean that I am advertising for anyone to wear swim-suits that make them look like they’re so desperate for attention, that they come across as vulgar. Please don’t take offense at this, I’m not saying that’s what they think, do, or EVEN WANT. All I am saying, is the message certain swimsuits send, is not positive or classy).

Here are some swim-suits I love.

2. Stylish Cover-up

If you have a swim-suit, you’ve got to have a cover-up! There are so many cute, fun options! Recently, I bought myself an army green cover-up at Francesca’s that I love! I also have a pair of crochet/lace black pants that I put over my swim-suit. And though my detail-oriented heart would love it, not every cover-up is going to match your swim-suit. That’s ok! For example, my army green one doesn’t really go with any of my swim-suits – but I’m definitely still going to wear it! Now, my black pants are pretty much going to match anything since black is a neutral color.

3. Flip Flops and Sandals Galore!

Alright. Confession time. I love shoes, well, shopping in general really xD Honestly though, for the beach pretty much the only shoes you’re going to need are flip flops and sandals. You can bring a pair of tennis shoes if you want to, but that’s more of a personal choice than necessity.

Tip: If you’re looking for a really comfortable pair of flip flops, Yellow Box should be your go-to! I have a pair and they’re super comfy, plus, they can get wet (at least in my experience xD).

4. Ocean Toys

What’s the beach without the ocean? I’ve always loved boogie boarding, especially when I was younger. Other fun toys to bring in the ocean are inflatables!

5. Sun Coverage

It never fails. Every time someone goes to the beach, somebody in the family gets sunburned. Bring sun screen, aloe – absolutely a lifesaver for bad sunburns, and use it! Trust me. You don’t want to be miserable when you’re at the beach from a painful burn!

6. Reading Material

The beach is the perfect spot for reading! Even if you’re not the most avid reader, the lulling ocean waves serves as the perfect medication to help you dive into the pages of a story. Some of my favorite books/series are Love Amid The Ashes by Mesu Andrews – a biblical fiction book about Job, absolutely wonderful and very eye-opening; First Date by Krista McGee – an awesome, hilarious tale about a girl who gets caught up in a TV show about a group of young women, all vying to win a date with the president’s son and how she finds God in that; and The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn, about a girl’s journey through middle and high school, college, marriage, and beyond, through friends, struggles, embarrassing moments, and learning how to live a faith-filled life.

If you really cannot stand reading fictional books, bring a magazine! HGTV and Food Network are great options! Fair warning, you might be hungry and feeling the urge to DIY by the last section 😉

I hope this has been of some help! 🙂 Comment below for any other questions or remarks! Are you going to the beach this summer?

~ Southern Dreamer

The Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review

Image result for guardians of the galaxy movie posterRecently, I watched The Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time. This was definitely different than any Marvel movie I’ve seen before, with it being set in a much bigger universe than the others. Of course, Thor’s movies have also been set in space, with some Earth scenes; this, however, was different. It gave you a better idea of how wide the scoop of the Marvel universe is in terms of Earth not being the only world concerned.

There were some great fighting scenes, as with any Marvel film, complete with weaponry, space ships, and acrobatic/martial arts. The main character, Peter Quill – or Starlord as he calls himself, reminded me of Marvel’s version of Han Solo. He’s quirky, funny – gets himself into a slew of trouble, and despite everything, at the end of the day, he has a good heart. Like the famed Star Wars character, Peter is high on people’s list to capture, and is definitely not buddies with the majority of the star studded, space neighborhood. And so, when he gets captured after so long, he finds himself stuck in a high-security prison with several other beings that he managed to run into along the way.

You have the intelligent raccoon called Rocket, the living tree that is a mystery to everyone and only speaks three words – “I am Groot,” the green, Black-Widow of space named Gamora, and another guy who tries to kill Gamora early on, Drax. This rag-tag group of people, who really only cares for their own self and interests, comes together in a hilarious and intense way. Throughout most of the movie, conflict arises between one or more parties, and poor Peter Quill continually tries to step in and smooth things over. Or as he said, no one is getting killed on my ship! (Something like that XD)

If you like Marvel movies, or just movies with action and humor in general, then I think you will find The Guardians of the Galaxy very enjoyable! Alright, that was my spoiler free review! If you read on any farther, fair warning, there are going to be some spoilers – though, I will try to steer clear of major ones.

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

***LAST WARNING***

***TURN BACK NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS***

Ok, with that out of the way, here are some of my favorite things about this film (in no specific order).

1. Introduction of new species/beings Image result for corpsman dey guardians of the galaxy

I thought it was cool how they brought in different species and beings that have not been seen in the Marvel universe before. Some of them looked exactly like humans, except for the color of their skin. Others were not similar to humanity in any way, shape, or form. It would be great if we could ever get some of their specie names and see how they’re all related.

2. Star Wars similarities

I really could not go through this list, without bringing this up. I’ve already mentioned that Peter Quill reminded me a lot of Han Solo, being someone rough-around-the-edges, but at the end of the day, he makes the right choice and helps people. I noticed, additionally, that when Gamora, Peter, Rocket, Groot, and Drax are entering the planet/city/etc – I think it used to be a mining community if I’m remembering correctly? – to sell the orb and get the money, some similarities to the Star Wars planets and more dangerous cantinas.

Image result for yondu's arrow guardians of the galaxy3. That arrow weapon

Yondu’s arrow is freaking awesome XD How does that thing work??? It’s kind of eerie if you think about it. There’s this blue guy whistling some tune, and an arrow floating in the air. Then before you know it, everyone around him is dead! Crazy. I thought that was a really cool weapon addition though.

4. Earth references

It was hilarious how no one understood Peter’s references XD Especially, the one where he makes the cutting-the-head-off-motion and Drax, along with the others, is literally like, “WHAT IS THIS GUY DOING.” So funny. And when he calls Rocket a raccoon, and says there are a ton like him on Earth, Rocket goes off on a, “THERE IS NO ONE LIKE ME,” rant.

5. ThanosImage result for thanos guardians of the galaxy

Wow. Like…WHAT. First of all, the entire idea of Thanos having a family is weird. Galaxy murderers should not have children. Just say’in – life lesson there y’all. I thought both Nebula and Gamora were awesome, creatively done characters. I am curious, however, as to why Nebula is so hateful towards her sister, and why she stayed with Thanos. I mean, he’s not exactly in the running for “Father of the Year” award. And, apparently she can regrow lost body parts. Well, that’s certainly a unique ability.

Furthermore, did anyone else wonder why if Thanos is so powerful, he chooses to live on a rock? It’s not even a nice rock. Literally looks like he dropped a boulder on a boring ‘ol rocky planet and decided that was going to be his throne. Personally, I’m not really getting take-over-the-universe vibes from that. Anyone with me?

Overall, I really enjoyed watching The Guardians of the Galaxy. I appreciated the creative touches that the film’s team added to this, and can’t wait to see how they expand on that in the next one. I thought baby Groot was seriously so adorable, and as a romantic, enjoyed those moments between Gamora and Peter. To those of you who have seen it, what did y’all think of The Guardians of the Galaxy? Favorite moments? Loved it, hated it? Let me know in the comments below!

~ Southern Dreamer