Monday, June 27, 2011


Meet the world with hope in your heart and it will reward you.

Ever since I watched A Walk to Remember, I've had a quote book.  I absolutely love the idea of the mother passing it down to Jamie and then Jamie passing it on to Landon, etc.  I just came across this quote in a book I read this week and loved it.  I thought I would share it with y'all - maybe you can start your own quote book that you can share with someone who means a lot to you.

A Little Bit About Now ...

It's funny because less than a week ago, I was talking with a friend of mine from work who kept trying to convince me that New Jersey was so much better than anywhere in the South.  And now, here I am watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey - don't get my wrong, I love this show - and now all I can think is, "Thank God I live here in the South."  I would never survive in Jersey!

Right now, there are 5 different pieces that make up the pie that is me (apple flavor probably.) 

- God.  I became a Christian when I moved to North Carolina, and though it hasn't been an easy journey, I cherish my relationship with God and am so thankful.  There is no other place that I can find as much peace as I do when reading the Bible or singing praise and worship songs.  

-My family.  My family and I have been through so much together and I am so thankful that we are as close as we are.  I can count on them to be there for me through thick and thin.  Not everyone can say that and I just feel so fortunate for them.
 Here we are - in CALIFORNIA, believe it or not!  How cute!

-My friends.  I have had the opportunity to meet so many people in my life and in all of the different places that I've been.  I've made great friends, and I've lost some too - but I have to trust that God has a plan for me.  There is one friend of mine who has been there for me through everything and though we have had some little tiffs, I know that I can count on her.  

Her name is Mary.  I hope she's okay with this little celebrity moment she is having on my blog!

Happy almost 8 months to my amazing boyfriend and I!  Girls, I am begging you right now - DON'T SETTLE, NO MATTER WHAT!  It wasn't until I met Jack that I learned how a girl should be treated.  Jack is so sweet and so respectful, he's made an effort to befriend my sister and get to know my family and has been there for me through everything.  Not to mention, he's really cute ;)

Hahaha he is going to be so angry when he see's this!  But I just think he looks so cute :)

Finally, my sorority.  I feel like I have every component wrapped into this one - my friends, my family, God and I get to bring my boyfriend to a lot of my events!  I belong to a Christian sorority - Phi Beta Chi - and I absolutely love it!
That's a brief update of where I'm at in my life right now.  But now, y'all will have to excuse me while I go and make some cookies!

Love y'all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Then and Now ...

As I may have mentioned before, I grew up on my grandparents' ranch, doing all sorts of ranch things - riding mules, playing with sheep and driving the tractor.  As you can tell from the following picture, I have always been one with fashion sense and took my role on the farm seriously.
My grandpa always promised me that he'd find me a good cowboy to fall in love with - someone who would treat me right.  For my 9th or 10th birthday, my grandparents bought me a cow (maybe with the hope that I would surround myself with those cowboys and fall in love at a young age?).  Now most of you are probably wondering why my grandparents would get me a cow ... that is a very valid question.  However, where I am from, 4-H is like air or water.  Okay, that may have been a slight exaggeration, but seriously, so many people do 4-H or FFA.  Whether it's showing sheep, cows, horses, pigs, etc. weekends and summers are spent at the fair or at shows;  instead of eating the different kinds of food and riding rides, our time is spent in the barns manicuring our show animal of choice and hanging out with the other 4-H kids.  
This is me showing a cow.  Her name was Kitty and we had just won first place in our show :) No, she does not have a flower tattoo.  My mom decided to scrapbook this lovely moment and this is one of the only pictures I have left from the critical time period in my life.

Will continue this post soon - off to dinner with the sorority sisters!
xoxo Kiley

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life in the South

It's hard to understand what "The South" means until you're in it ... living, breathing, speaking, eating, consuming all of it.  At first, you're in complete shock ... sometimes even in denial.  Eventually though, slowly but surely, you become oblivious to those so-called "crazy ways" and soon adopt them as your own.  

The first, and biggest adjustment is the way that people speak - y'all, yes ma'am/sir, hoss, 'coon hunting, down yonder, etc.  Not only do you have to decipher what it is these phrases mean, but it is difficult even trying to figure out what people say.  You is pronounced "yeeewww," w is said as dub-yah and nothing really ever sounds like it's spelled.  

Second, and almost equally as important - the food.  The biggest delicacy in the South is their Sweet Tea.  At Bojangles, a place prided for their fried chicken and biscuits, sweet tea comes with each and every meal, free of charge.  My family visited North Carolina the Spring Break before moving here, and was mesmerized by the different items that seemed "out of this world." We made sure to take pictures (tourists, huh?) of ourselves trying grits, fried okra and key lime pie.  We were in shock when restaurants served a regular burger with coleslaw and chili on top.  We learned that bar-be-que is a noun and not a verb, and that it doesn't mean "getting together with friends to cook out (there goes my Southern vocabulary slippin' in.)  

Another major difference - sports.  Moving to North Carolina signified the death of professional sports and the adoption of all things college.  There were only three choices when it came to choosing your team and each choice represented a different connotation - State: farmers, redneck, agricultural; UNC: liberal, hippies, preppy; Duke: wealthy, nerdy, Asian.  Though these stereotypes may not always be true, these are what people live and die by.  During the same Spring Break trip, I wore Carolina and Duke clothes, together ... If you're from "around here," you're most likely shaking your head or laughing at my stupidity.  Needless to say, I was stopped within the first 5 minutes and told that "that was not allowed around here." A day or two later, my family determined that our loyalties would lie with the Tar Heels, the reason being some "tar" found on the heel of my dad's sock.  

The South is often called the Bible Belt, rightly so.  You can't have a conversation with a Southern person without a "God bless you/her/his soul" or an "I'll pray for you." How funny that after writing this sentence, I glanced at my facebook and the first status reads, "Praying that ..."  Now don't get me wrong, I thank God that I am a Christian and joyfully go to church; however, it was a long road getting there.  We attended every church in our small little town and finally settled on one after months and months of experimenting.  Yes, I did say small town, but don't get me wrong, there are more churches than you can count on one ... or even two hands.  Our first week was at some sort of tribal church, at the second, we were the only white people.  One church had a woman pastor and others were held in a funeral home.  Experience after experience finally led us to something we all agreed on: a church with a pastor who kept your attention for more than 10 minutes, a place that wasn't too formal and had comfortable seating arrangements (cushioned chairs or pews) and finally, a place that allowed you to drink coffee (my mom can't survive without it.)

IT IS SO HUMID HERE.  As soon as you walk outside, you sweat.  There are thunderstorms in the summer, with lightning so bright and thunder so loud, you'll think the world is ending.  Everything is upside down, backwards and inside out.  One day the weather will be 30 and snowing ... a day or two later, it will be 85 and sunny.     

Lifestyle is simpler here; no, not easier, but simple in the way that people enjoy the little things.  Families go on walks together, friends sit on swings on the porch together and you'll receive a smile and a wave from anyone you pass by.  

Though it's taken me awhile, I'm finally at the point where I've adopted this Southern culture as my own.  For awhile I struggled with the fact that I wasn't "truly" Southern until a friend gave me a piece of advice.  Southern isn't something you are, but rather it's something you believe in and love in your heart.  

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the start ... and sort of the middle, of my road to becoming a Southern Belle.